For decades, the Bundesbank has relied on written confirmation of its gold holdings in London, Paris and New York. According to the report from the German audit court, the last time Bundesbank officials physically inspected the central banks gold holdings was, well, never.
(It should be stated that the folks at FT Alphaville quote a report saying an inspection took place in 1979/1980.)
Interestingly enough, the Bundesbank is apparently quite happy with taking the word of other central bankers about the existence, location and size of its gold reserves. It put out the word that it disagrees with the Audit Court, which only has advisory power and cannot force the Bundesbank to follow its recommendations, about the need for inspections.
Nonetheless, the Bundesbank is actually going to follow the recommendation that it verify the gold stocks. It also has plans to ship some 150 tons of gold back to Germany for a more “thorough examination.”