GENEVA FREEPORT WHERE IS THE SELF- STOR­AGE BUNKER OF THE SU­PER RICH?

GENEVA, SWITZER­LAND

iD magazine - - Current Events -

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.

46.1878° N 6.1261° E

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.