14th century samurai sword found in car at Swiss border | Swiss
Swiss customs authorities have discovered an ancient Japanese samurai sword made nearly 700 years ago after it was smuggled into the country.
The Federal Office of Customs and Border Security said the katana sword, dated 1353 and worth €650,000 (£550,000), was found in a Swiss-registered car during a a routine excavation near Zurich. Several other objects were also found in the car, including an old book, a contract and the sales invoice.
The driver, accompanied by his daughter, had not registered the items at the Thayngen border crossing from Germany, officials said.
Customs authorities opened a criminal investigation and determined that the driver was not the owner of the items, but had picked up the sword in Stuttgart at the request of his employer.
Customs experts ruled that the importation of the ancient sword should be considered a violation of Swiss laws aimed at preserving cultural heritage and preventing theft, looting and illegal import and export of cultural property. .
Following the investigation, regional authorities imposed fines of more than 6,000 Swiss francs (£4,960) on the employer.
Customs authorities said they collected nearly 54,000 Swiss francs in VAT from the driver, who faces up to 800,000 francs in additional fines.