Berlin police have raided homes and jewellery shops on suspicion they could be connected to the theft of a huge 100kg (220lb) Canadian gold coin from a museum in the German capital.
The coin, dubbed the Big Maple Leaf and with an estimated value of 3.75 million euro (£3.36 million), was stolen from Bode Museum in Berlin in 2017 and has not yet been recovered.
The morning raids were focused on eight suspects, aged between 14 and 51, and of various nationalities, police said.
They are alleged to have been part of a ring that obtained stolen gold to melt it down and forge collector coins, then sell them as genuine through jewellery stores operated by them or their relatives.
Among other things, a possible connection to the theft of the gold coin from the Bode Museum is being be examinedBerlin Police
Some of the counterfeits are already circulating, police said.
The searches led to the discovery of counterfeit coins, forgery tools and a “five-digit” sum of cash, police said.
“The evaluation of the evidence is ongoing,” police said.
“Among other things, a possible connection to the theft of the gold coin from the Bode Museum is being be examined.”
Berlin prosecutors said there were no arrests but the investigation is continuing.
The searches came just two days after the arrest of a key suspect in the spectacular theft of 18th-century jewels from a Dresden museum last year, who is from a family linked to the Canadian gold coin theft.
Mohamed Remmo, 21, was arrested by Berlin authorities in a car in the Neukoelln district of the city on Monday evening.
His twin brother, Abdul Majed Remmo, remains a fugitive of the law.
Police and prosecutors would not comment on whether there was a connection between the arrest and the searches.
Members of the same family were convicted earlier this year for the Canadian gold coin theft.
Cousins Ahmed Remmo and Wissam Remmo, along with a friend who worked as a security guard at the museum, were all convicted and sentenced to several years in prison.