Let’s take a break from the busy news cycle with a thrilling Indiana Jones-style gold hunt story.
It’s about a stash of gold bars and a 1-ton golden Buddha statue that are believed to be part of the so-called Yamashita treasure — a hoard of stolen gold bullion hidden by Japanese troops during World War II.
Lost, found, and stolen again, this treasure, worth $22 billion, has almost vanished into thin air several times over.
The story started with…
Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita
Yamashita allegedly looted gold, jewels, and artifacts from 12 countries in East and South-East Asia during World War II, which he had buried in several undisclosed locations in the Philippines.
But Yamashita never had the chance to reclaim his treasure: in 1946, he was convicted of war crimes and hanged by the Americans.
The treasure lied dormant until it was discovered by…
Rogelio Roxas, the treasure hunter
In 1971, Rogelio Roxas, a locksmith, discovered one of Yamashita’s caches containing gold bars and the Buddha statue, totaling over a ton of gold.
And as if a ton of gold wasn’t enough, Roxas later discovered that the Buddha’s head could be removed and that the insides of the statue were hiding handfuls of uncut diamonds.
But Roxas’s triumph at his discovery was short-lived as he met…
Hearing of the story, Marcos, who ruled the Philippines with an iron fist until 1986, allegedly had Roxas captured and tortured to reveal the location of his treasure before robbing him.
Rumors are that Marcos managed to gather most of Yamashita’s treasure, but no member of his family ever commented publicly on the allegations… until February 1992.
According to an AP article, in 1992, Ferdinand’s widow, Imelda Marcos, claimed that her late husband had found Japanese gold after World War II but hadn’t disclosed its existence to tax authorities because the amount was so huge ″it would be embarrassing.″
The gold treasure had apparently been hidden in several places by the dictator, including inside the walls of his home. But Imelda, who is 91 years old today, still refuses to say where the remaining gold could be stored.
How much gold do we think Marcos owned?
There is no way to know… but the former mayor of Manila reportedly heard from Imelda herself that Marcos had owned close to 7,000 tons of gold… which would be worth around $400 billion today.
And what about the diamond-filled Buddha?
Well, it seems like this one is yet to be located… 🕵️♀️