GENEVA FREEPORT WHERE IS THE SELF- STORAGE BUNKER OF THE SUPER RICH?
The name alone should make you suspicious: The Geneva Freeport is more than 200 miles away from the nearest coast. Just a few hundred yards from Geneva’s primary train station is a 10-foot-tall wall. Behind it sprawls a warehouse complex that’s four stories high and takes up 20 football fields. The entire compound is a restricted area. Every inch gets systematically monitored; walls are protected by barbed wire, the guards are heavily armed, and the steel doors, which are biometrically secured, are among the most resistant doors on the planet. The reason for all these safety measures: The Geneva Freeport is the most valuable building on Earth. A bulging safe—basically Europe’s version of Fort Knox. Billionaires, dictators, banks, investors, and crime syndicates store jewelry, gold bars, gems, and especially art in the space’s 1.6 million square feet. “In total the artwork stored here is worth more than four trillion euros,” estimates economics professor Friedrich Schneider of Austria’s Johannes Kepler University Linz. For good reason: The Freeport’s virtually extraterritorial status means everything contained in it is free from duties and taxes. The problem: Experts suspect around one-third of this art is connected to criminal dealings. Nevertheless, investigators are rarely granted a search warrant. However, on the few missions that have been permitted, they found tons of drugs, weapons, and stolen works of art. But how can a law-free zone arise— and persist—in the middle of Europe? The fact is that art is a multibillion- dollar market now. The world’s rich and powerful have long invested their money in paintings, gold, and jewelry, and nobody has any interest in seeing this anonymous Freeport repository disappear.
HALL OF MANY TREASURES
The Geneva Freeport is located in the center of the Swiss metropolis. The 1.6 million–square-foot warehouse complex is hermetically sealed.
EXPENSIVE ART GALLERY The value of the paintings stored at the Geneva Freeport has been estimated to be at least $100 billion.
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