Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lufthansa flight attendants smuggled fake coins in scam

Lufthansa flight attendants smuggled fake coins in scam: "
LH A340-600
A Lufthansa A340-600 about to touch down at Toulouse following a test flight. Photograph: AirSpace user apgphoto.

When German customs officers saw a Lufthansa flight attendant struggling with her luggage, they became suspicious. Upon opening her luggage they found not the remnants of a layover shopping spree but thousands of euro coins.

She was one of four Lufthansa flight attendants who abetted a scam to trade scrap €1 and €2 coins for legitimate versions, The Local reports a German prosecutor saying. The gold and silver parts of the euro coins were separated and then sent to China as scrap. A group in China re-assembled the coins, which the flight attendants then brought to Germany and swapped for legitimate versions at the Bundesbank, the only place in Europe that exchanges coins at no cost (note to self).

The flight attendant quartet helped carry 29 tonnes of coins between China and Europe from 2007 to last November to help their ring net an estimated €6 million. Five people are reportedly in custody over the scam while a sixth has been brought before a judge. They were aged 28 to 45 and include four Chinese.

Lufthansa says it had been 'made aware by the responsible authorities of an investigation into individual workers. We do not comment on state prosecutors' investigations.' That's a statement much better than the one South African Airways' CEO made about a smuggling operation with his carrier's flight attendants.

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