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Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 09:20 GMT
German police hunt euro robbers
Euro notes
At least 10 million euros were stolen
Police in Germany have launched a major hunt for a security guard to staged the country's biggest-ever robbery.

The man, believed to be a 23-year-old Frenchman, stole at least 10 million euros (6.1m) he had been due to deliver to banks in Frankfurt.

The man threatened his co-driver with a gun, before handcuffing him.

Police with empty van after robbery
The robbers abandoned the van in an underground car park
He then let two accomplices into the vehicle.

They drove to an underground car park, where four steel cases containing the cash were transferred to another vehicle, say police.

The handcuffed guard was discovered only when passers-by heard him calling for help. He was not injured, a police spokesman told BBC News Online.

The co-driver is helping the police with their investigations, but has little information about the driver.

Map showing Frankfurt
He did not know him personally as the security firm constantly changes its staff, police say.

It is thought that the two accomplices may also have been foreign.

Police have yet to identify the getaway vehicle.

Frankfurt police said they would engage the help of other police forces in the investigation, through Interpol.

It is thought to be the biggest euro raid carried out since distribution of the new currency started last year.

The massive distribution operation involved supplying around 600bn euros to banks and shops across the 12 eurozone countries.

The first major hitch came in November, when armed robbers escaped with 260,000 euros (160,000) in new banknotes, after holding up a bank in a Rome suburb.

See also:

22 May 01 | Europe
Strike threat hits euro launch
07 Sep 01 | Europe
Thieves stage first euro robbery
22 Nov 01 | Europe
Armed robbers in euro heist
29 Aug 01 | Business
Euro launch lifts security firms
01 Dec 98 | Inside EMU
Crime without frontiers
06 Sep 01 | Europe
Robbers say no to euros
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