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World's previous biggest robberies

LONDON, England -- If it had succeeded, the daring attempt to steal diamonds worth half a billion dollars (350 million) from the Millennium Dome would have eclipsed the world's previous biggest jewel theft by a margin of ten times.

If the raiders had pulled it off it would have been "the world's biggest robbery" in a single jewel heist, according to Scotland Yard detectives.

According to the Guinness Book of Records the world's biggest gems robbery was carried out by three men who stole jewels valued at 30 million ($43 million) from a jewellery shop in the Carlton Hotel in Cannes, France, in August 1994.

One of Britain's biggest successful robberies was executed by raiders who broke into a Knightsbridge safe deposit centre in central London, and stripped it of contents estimated at well over 30 million ($43 million) in July 1987.

Among Britain's largest robberies is the Great Train Robbery of August 1963 when 120 mailbags containing 2,631,784 ($3,758,924) in banknotes were stolen.

The money was on a train en route from Glasgow to London, where it was to be destroyed, when it was ambushed by a gang near Mentmore in Buckinghamshire.

Twenty years later .26 million in gold bullion ($37 million) was taken in the 1993 Brink's-Mat robbery.

The world's biggest bank robbery was executed by guerrillas who blasted the vaults of the British Bank of the Middle East in Bab Idriss in Beirut, Lebanon.

The Guinness Book of Records said they escaped with safe deposit boxes whose contents were valued at up to 22 million ($31 million) in January 1976.

A security van driver pulled off one of America's largest cash robbery when he stole $20 million (13.6 million) in unmarked notes, in March 1997.

In 1993 Nissan UK was conned out of 140 million ($200 million) in a tax fraud which saw the money being siphoned off into a Swiss bank account and costing the Inland Revenue .97 million in lost corporation tax.

The late Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda salted away 569.5 million ($813.4 million) before their downfall, the new Philippines government announced in April 1986.

Central banks around the world found themselves the victim of a giant theft in May 1990 when 292 million ($417 million) in financial documents was stolen from a money-brokers' messenger in the City of London.

The Central banks cooperated in rushing details of the stolen documents to each other to help foil attempts by the robber of profiting from the theft.

From Europe

Great Train robber Biggs may elude arrest
August 12, 1997

Guinness World Records
Scotland Yard

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