Biggest Bank Robberies in world
Every other day there is a story about bank robbery, some inspired by a movie and some with such mindblowing ideas that movies are made on them. But can you imagine what could be the amount of biggest bank robberies? There are bank robberies amounting in thousands of crores and some may be bigger than the economy of small countries. Here is the list of biggest bank robberies in the world:
$ 1 billion ~ Rs.65000 Crores, Central Bank of Iraq, Baghdad , 2003
In March 2003, just one day before the United States attacked Baghdad in hunt of Saddam Hussein , nearly $1 billion were stolen from the Central Bank of Iraq. This is considered one of the largest bank robbery in history. A handwritten note signed by Saddam Hussein, ordering his son Qusay Hussein to withdraw $920 million was found. Qusay loaded the boxes of $100 bills secured with stamped seal known as security money, which took five hours. Later Saddam Hussein and Qusay were killed by US forces but where the money is hidden or what happened to that money is still a suspense.
$210 million ~ Rs.14000 crore, The British Bank of the Middle East, Beirut, Lebanon, 1976
The robbers exploited the chaos of the country’s civil war. Palestinian Liberation Organization blasted through the wall of a nearby church to break the bank. They opened up the vault with the help of a bunch of Corsican locksmiths. After the robbery, the robbers escaped to Switzerland and sold the personal valuables of people to them for profit of $50 to $100 million.
$282 million ~ Rs.1830 crores, Dar Es Salaam, Baghdad, 2007
Those who have been entrusted with the security of bank stole $282 millions from the bank, yes the security guards flew with the money. It was suspected that some government official was also involved but nothing was confirmed. The robbery was noticed only the next day when employees of the bank found vault open and security guards missing. The currency stolen was US dollars, it was strange that why such huge money was kept in the bank and that too in US dollars and not the home currency. The security guards were arrested soon and most of the money was recovered.
$174 million ~ Rs.1130 Crore, Knightsbridge Security Deposit, Italy, 1987
Two men requested for a safe deposit box on rent in Knightsbridge Safe Deposit Centre. As the manager of the deposit centre showed them the vault the robbers took out their handguns and subdued the manager and security guards. They hung a sign on the door of the safe deposit centre that the Safe Deposit Centre is temporarily closed, so that no one try to enter the centre. They broke open the safe deposit boxes and and flew away with the money and valuables. The exact value of robbery is not known but only estimated as the content and their value in safe deposit boxes are not reported.
The mastermind and leader of the robbery was Valerio Viccei which was identified through a bloody fingerprint traced during forensic investigation by the police. Viccei was arrested by police when he was trying to retrieve and ship his Ferrari to Latin America. He was sentenced 22 years of prison and was killed in a gunfire after release from the prison.
$71.60 million ~ Rs.460 crores, The Banco Central Robbery, Brazil, 2005
A gang of burglars rented a commercial property in the city, renovated it and posed as a landscaping company selling natural and artificial grass and plants. Everybody in the neighbourhood understood it as a normal business activity. They had installed lighting and air conditioning system in the tunnel. They tunnelled 78 meters beneath two city blocks to reach beneath the bank. This took 3 months to tunnel and get into the bank. The robbers removed five containers weighing about 3.5 tons. The burglars managed to disable the bank’s alarms and sensors, and was noticed by the bank only when it opened on Monday.
Rs 342 crore – a moving train, Tamil Nadu, India, 2016
A train booked by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) carrying around Rs.342 crores in 228 trunks of money and weighing around 23 tonnes was looted by robbers from a moving train in Tamil Nadu. The robbers entered the railway coach by cutting the roof of the coach. The train was booked by RBI and was transporting money from Salem in Tamil Nadu. The incidence of robbery was noticed by RBI when the train reached Chennai. It was believed that robbers boarded the train midway and used steel-cutters and welding machines to cut the roof and enter the train coach.
£26.5 million ~ Rs.265 Crores, Northern Bank, Belfast, Ireland, 2004
One night, groups of armed men arrived at the homes of two officials of the Northern Bank and held the officials and their families at gunpoint. Bank official Christopher Ward was taken to the home of his supervisor, Kevin McMullan, while gunmen remained at his home with Ward’s family. Subsequently, McMullan’s wife was taken from their home and held, also at gunpoint, at an unknown location. The following day both officials were instructed to report for work at the bank’s headquarters at Belfast’s Donegall Square West as normal. Next day a test run of robbery was done by Ward removing £1 million. Finally Cash was transferred to one or several vehicles and gang fled away. Following the raid, Northern Bank announced that it would recall all £300 million worth of its banknotes in denominations of £10 or more, and reissue them in different colours with a new logo and new serial numbers.
$28 mn ~ Rs.186 Crores – ABN Amro Bank, Brussels, Belgium, 2007
A person naming himself Carlos Hector Flomenbaum from Argentina (with a stole passport from Israel) stole diamonds worth $28 million from ABN Amro Bank in Brussel where he was a trusted customer for one year. The man was dealing with the bank for one year and used to visit the bank regularly to gain trust of bank employees. One fine day he managed to get the keys of vault and flew with diamonds worth $28 million and was never caught.