A Dublin man has been arrested at Kochi International Airport in India after security staff found him carrying ten gold bars worth nearly €350,000 in his jacket.
Each gold bar weighs 1kg and the man is being questioned about the alleged smuggling of the precious metal after arriving in the airport from Dubai on an Emirates flight yesterday.
Local media sources say that according to customs officials who carried out a preliminary investigation, the man in his 40s is suspected to be a carrier linked to a gold smuggling racket allegedly operating between Kerala and the Middle East.
He is believed to have visited Kochi more than ten times previously and an investigation was launched to discover the purpose of his visits, the sources said.
A Customs release said the gold bars recovered were of 24-carat purity.
Alleged involvement of a foreign national, particularly from a developed country like Ireland, in gold smuggling was a matter of "surprise" for the customs officials, said the local media reports.
The Embassy of Ireland in New Delhi has been informed about the arrest and the Department of Foreign Affairs said it was aware of the case and offering consular assistance.