Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport has a strange secret, according to the Russian press.
Moskovsky Komsomolets writes that 20 billion euros ($26 billion) has been sitting in the airport since 2007.
The Moscow tabloid reports that a man named Farzin Koroorian Motlagh shipped the money from Frankfurt but has never arrived to collect it. Now the money sits in limbo, as it cannot be seized by the Russian authorities nor given to anyone other than Motlagh under Russian law as he did not specify a recipient.
It’s an odd situation. MK reports that the cash is being stored in pallets which fit 100 million euro.
There are reportedly 200 pallets, each weighing around 1 ton. The total weight of the cash is listed as 200 tons.
So where did the cash come from, and who is Mr. Motlagh?
A scanned passport included in the article was issued by Iran, and MK reports that he is listed as an employee of the Central Bank in the United Arab Emirates.
A Facebook page claiming to belong to him lists his current address as Tehran, while a search for his name brings up a number of murky-sounding investment companies.
A report on an Iranian news website ties his name to a million-dollar fraud involving the UAE and MK suggests it could be the remains of Saddam Hussein’s secret fortune.
Of course, take the whole thing with an enormous grain of salt — a press contact for the airport told Ria Novosti that the story was “delirium.”
That may be true — 20 billion euros is so huge, Lenta.ru points out it’s comparable to the GDP of countries such as Estonia, Cyprus, Afghanistan and Nepal, and twice as much as Russia will spend on education in 2014.
Even so, if you know any more about the alleged cash, Russia! Magazine helpfully lists the contact details for Sheremetyevo’s lost and found.