£2.5 million worth of gold on sale in Belfast
MORE than £2.5 million worth of gold seized from a criminal gang will go up for auction in Belfast next week.
A city auction house will look more like a Hollywood movie set when almost 150 kilos of the precious metal goes on sale to the public.
The gold was seized during an investigation by Revenue and Customs into a £9m smuggling plot that saw the gang’s leader, Chaudry Ali of Middlesex in England, jailed for nine years in 2012.
Last year he was ordered to pay back £4.3m of his criminal profits or serve an extra 10 years in prison.
The haul, which includes Asian gold bracelets, necklaces, rings, a statue and gold bars, will go under the hammer at Wilsons Auctions in Belfast next Friday, with viewing taking place on October 28 and 29.
Two online auctions have already raised almost £700,000 for the public coffers.
Aidan Larkin of Wilsons said they are thrilled that Belfast was chosen to auction off the cache.
"We are delighted to be entrusted with the sale of the gold on HMRC’s behalf after such a successful investigation and playing our part in realising the assets so money can go back into the public purse."
Kevin Newe of HMRC said: "Our work doesn’t stop when a criminal is sentenced; we always look to reclaim their illegal profits... to fund the public services used by everyone."
Further action to recover the proceeds of crime is being taken by selling properties and land worth nearly £2m owned by Ali in Birmingham and London.