The arrests of 17 alleged veteran armed robbers behind the multi-million pound Kim Kardashian jewellery heist in Paris will end ‘outrageous’ speculation that it was all a publicity stunt, her lawyer said today.
The accused men, aged mostly between 50 and 72, are suspected of stealing millions of pounds worth of jewellery from Kim Kardashian in Paris.
Barrister Jean Veil said his 36-year-old client had been left deeply traumatized after being bound, gagged and threatened with death in the French capital last October.
But following coordinated raids, the gang – including a ‘major thug’ in his 70s – are thought to have been rounded up.
‘I welcome this with great satisfaction,’ said Mr Veil, who said he was due to discuss details of the raids with Ms Kardashian .
‘These arrests are a nice surprise because on the one hand, it will perhaps make it possible to find the jewellery,’ said Mr Veil.
‘On the other hand, it puts an end to the outrageous speculation by some, who thought it was intelligent to pretend that this robbery was staged, or a publicity stunt organised by Ms Kardashian.’
Mr Veil indicated that Ms Kardashian would look forward ‘putting her nose up’ at those who had doubted her word.
During recent conversations, Mr Veil said Ms Kardashian ‘still showed some form of anxiety. I think she was recently shocked and had the opportunity to say so on television.
‘The money she lost during this robbery is not the only issue. Even though my client was not injured, this assault was very brutal and traumatic. Imagine yourself alone, at night, in front of armed people.’
Ms Kardashian feared ‘they’re going to shoot me in the back,’ she said this weekend on ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’, adding: ‘There’s no way out. It makes me so upset to think about it.’
Today it also emerged that French police have failed to call on the key witness in the case – because the authorities will not grant him a temporary visa to enter France.
‘I don’t know if this is incompetence or just a bad decision. He is the best witness, he saw the criminals much longer than Miss Kardashian. I hope the police have a lot of solid proof and evidence, because if they don’t, it will be seen as a crazy decision.’
The suspects that police have held are accused of breaking into the reality TV star’s Paris apartment block last October, and tying her up at gunpoint, along with a security guard.
Coordinated dawn raids saw a total of 17 suspects, mostly with long criminal records, arrested in the city and also in the south of France, a source close to the case said.
It emerged that the DNA sample that ultimately led to today’s arrest was found on a piece of tape used to gag Ms Kardashian.
After three months of checks, it was finally found to correspond to a well-known criminal who had been involved in numerous armed robberies.
He has not been named but – like all the others in custody – can be held for up to 96 hours before being charged or released.
One of the suspected ‘Mr Bigs’ allegedly involved in the robbery has been partially identified as Pierre B., a ‘career villain’ living in Grasse, in the south of France.
The 72-year-old is part of a diverse network of alleged criminals spanning different communities across France and Belgium.
As well as Pierre B. – who made millions through counterfeit money – they include three women, and two diamond dealers.