Germany Wants U.S., France, To Return Gold Reserves

So you're saying the whole trust thing is ... played


BERLIN—In what sounds like the setup for a stylish Hollywood heist movie, Germany is transferring nearly 700 tons of gold bars worth $36 billion from Paris and New York to its vaults in Frankfurt.

The move is part of an effort by Germany's central bank to bring much of its gold home after keeping big reserves outside the country for safekeeping during the Cold War.

Shipping such a large amount of valuable cargo between countries could be a serious security headache. A gold robbery—the subject of such movies as "Die Hard 3" and "The Italian Job"—would be embarrassing and expensive for Germany.

The high-stakes, high-security plan is to move the precious metal—374 tons kept in vaults in Paris and 300 tons stored at the New York Federal Reserve Bank—to the Bundesbank in Germany's financial center over the next eight years.