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Congo seizes gold, cash, frees 5 in smuggling case

Congo authorities seized 435 kilos (957 pounds) of gold and $6.5 million in cash in smashing a plot to smuggle the haul abroad from the country's anarchic east, officials said on Saturday.

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Congo authorities seized 435 kilos (957 pounds) of gold and $6.5 million in cash in smashing a plot to smuggle the haul abroad from the country's anarchic east, officials said on Saturday.

The Democratic Republic of Congo's state prosecutor said five people including an American and two French citizens, as well as an impounded, US-registered Gulfstream jet, had been released after a $3 million fine was paid.

"The legislature allows the possibility for investigators to reach an agreement and it can close proceedings if the fine is paid," Flory Kabange said in a statement.

The group, which included two Nigerians, was arrested on February 3 after they flew in from Nigeria to the eastern town of Goma, in North Kivu province, to carry out a transaction with the gold and cash.

Kabange said the confiscated booty would be paid into the state treasury.

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