British Bank of the Middle East, Beirut, Was Looted for ₤25 Million, And The PLO Got Away With it

British Bank of the Middle East, Beirut, Was Looted for ₤25 Million, And The PLO Got Away With it

Members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization were involved in  blasting a hole in the wall separating a Catholic church and British Bank of the Middle East in Beirut on January 20, 1976. With the help of a group of Corsican locksmiths and safecrackers, the team of men opened the bank's vault and decamped with all it contained. They had to use trucks to carry away all the items, there were so many valuables in the bank's vault. They badly needed the money to fund their fledgling organization. They were waging a war of independence against Iraq, and all wars need funds. The bank's vault was to supply them with the badly needed money.

The bank's vault is believed to contain $20-50 million worth gold bars and currency notes. Today, the money is worth thrice its value in 1976. There were a lot of stocks, shares and jewels in the bank at that moment that the robbers got away with. It took them two days to get all the valuables out of the bank. The PLO had conducted several bank heists to collect money for the PLO and this was probably the PLO's largest bank heist.

A large part of the booty in the form of stocks and bonds was sold back to the owners in return for some money. The owners did not object to glad to get back their assets, even though it came at a price now because they were illegally obtained.  A disclosure of their real wealth was likely to earn the wrath of the contemporary governments.

The robbers attacked the bank when the country was busy with civil war. This way, they avoided attention to their activity. The robbers eventually got away with their heist, and were never caught.

 

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