A man arrested at a train station in Paris had more than £250,000 worth of diamonds stuffed in his underpants, customs officers have said.
The passenger was stopped by police as he prepared to board a train to Brussels at Gare du Nord, a busy terminus in the French capital.
Hundreds of rough diamonds of various sizes, weighing nearly a kilogram, were discovered hidden in plastic packets inside the man’s undergarments.
A specialist estimated the value of the gems to be around 300,000 euros (£259,000), French customs said yesterday.
The man is believed to have travelled from the Democratic Republic of Congo to France before his arrest in late December.
The trade and transportation of rough diamonds in Europe is strictly controlled, with anyone in possession of the rocks required to first be verified by the EU and given an official certificate.
Since 2003, an international agreement called the Kimberley Process has attempted to ensure shipments of rough diamonds did not fuel conflict in the countries where they are mined.
Currently around 80 countries participate in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, with all the EU states acting as one of scheme's 54 members.
French customs authorities released a video of the haul, showing the diamonds shining and glittering even before they have been cut.
The EU is a major centre for diamond trading, according to the European Commission, with illicit deals taking place in major cities like London and Antwerp.
Gare du Nord is the busiest railway station in Europe by passenger numbers.
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