Two Israelis were arrested in Japan on Wednesday for what was said to be the largest gold smuggling operation in the country’s history.
The outlet named the two as Reuven Rosen, 58, a precious metals importer, and David Cohen, 55, both said to be residents of Tokyo.
According to the Mainichi English-language news site, the men are suspected of belonging to a ring that smuggled a total of some four tons of gold into Japan in around 50 shipments since March 2017.
The men were held on suspicion of attempting to smuggle 220 kilograms worth of gold nuggets in 2017.
The two were also held for allegedly violating customs laws and evading tax by smuggling an additional 200 kilograms of the precious metal, worth approximately $8.5 million, disguised as auto parts in an air shipment from Hong Kong.
The gold nuggets were said to have been purchased in Hong Kong by a third party before they were shipped to Japan.
The news site reported that police say Rosen has admitted to the charges while Cohen denies some of them.