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VIP Chauffeur, 27, Who Drove The Kardashians Around Paris Is Among The 17 Men Arrested For $10 million Kim Robbery

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via Daily Mail:


Why are the theives faces being blurred? *

Kim Kardashian’s chauffeur was among the 17 arrested in connection with her armed robbery in Paris, it emerged tonight.

The heist, worth around £8.5 million, was France’s biggest jewellery theft involving a private citizen in more than two decades.

The development strengthens theories the robbery was an inside job and that the gang knew exactly where their target would be at any time.

The 27-year-old driver worked for an upmarket firm that was used by the Kardashian family whenever they were in Paris.

Police confirmed reports he would have known all her movements.

The accused men, aged mostly in their 50s, 60s and 70s, are suspected of stealing jewels and valuables worth £8.5million from Ms Kardashian during Paris fashion week.

Pierre B – the 72-year-old alleged ringleader – was arrested after officers broke down the gate of his villa in Plascassier, a village near Grasse, in the south of France.

The age of the suspects has echoes of the 2015 Hatton Garden safe deposit robbery in London – carried out by a team of veteran British criminals.

A police source said: ‘The oldest suspect is 72, while others are in their 50s and 60s. All are well known to the police.’ Another later arrest involved a 23-year-old.

Barrister Jean Veil said his 36-year-old client had been left deeply traumatised after being bound, gagged and threatened with death in the French capital last October.

The robbers made off with her 20-carat Lorraine Schwartz engagement ring worth £3.5million and a case of jewellery with a value of £5.24million.

The reality TV star had a gun pointed at her, her hands and feet bound with cable ties and was left in the bath after masked men with police badges on their jackets burst into her room at a hotel in the city’s exclusive 8th arrondissement.

Ms Kardashian, the world’s highest paid reality television star, was alone because her bodyguard, Pascal Duvier, was out at a nightclub with her sisters.

But three months since the heist, the gang – including ‘career villain’ Pierre B – 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 when she woke up in Los Angeles today.

‘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.’

Earlier this month, Ms Kardashian broke her silence on the robbery in a teaser for the family’s reality show, telling two of her sisters her thoughts at the time: ‘They’re going to shoot me in the back. 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.

Abdulrahman, the Algerian concierge who was tied up and forced to give the robbers access to the reality star’s apartment, left France in November to recover from the stress of the experience.

Currently in Algeria, Abdulrahman, 39, is thought to be the only person to have clearly seen the intruders’ faces, and to have had prolonged conversations with them on the night of the crime.

So far, however, investigators have not contacted him to identify the suspects, and his attempts to enter France to be available to police have been rejected, MailOnline can reveal.

He told MailOnline: ‘Before leaving France, the judge in charge of this case told my lawyers that I should renew my residence permit so I can travel quickly for the investigation purposes.

‘Last week, I was in Paris to receive a letter from ‘le prefet de Police’ but he refused my request.’

He added: ‘It is so crazy.’

It comes as police revealed that at least two of the suspects arrested this morning are of northern Algerian descent.

Abdulrahman’s lawyer, Henri de Beauregard, told MailOnline: ‘He had a visa that expired in November, and when he applied for a new one, he was refused.

‘He doesn’t want to stay in France for long, he just wants to come and be available for the investigation and help the police. It is important for justice and important for him.

‘A victim is a victim. He is no less a victim than Kim – he has a right to face his aggressor.

‘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 police have held are accused of breaking into the reality TV personality’s Paris apartment block last October, and tying her up at gunpoint, along with a security guard.

The gang escaped on ‘velibs’ – hire bicycles which can be rented all over Paris – but one of them dropped a diamond pendant worth around £28,000 in the street outside.

It was found by a woman who handed it in to police, as grainy CCTV of the men on bikes also emerged.

Police said the butter-fingered thief who lost the necklace had effectively led them to the entire group of suspects.

A DNA match from the necklace, along with tape used to gag Ms Kardashian, enabled detectives to trace key members of the gang.

A surveillance operation then led detectives to the other suspects, including jewel dealers thought to have been involved in fencing the stolen gems.

Forensics material found in a Paris hotel matched that of a well-known convicted armed robber described as a ‘major thug’.

A suspected ‘Mr Big’ has been partially identified as Pierre B, a 72-year-old ‘career villain’ from the south of France who made millions through counterfeit money.

Others arrested include two diamond dealers and three women – some of whom are suspected of trailing Ms Kardashian around Paris before the robbery.

They can be held for up to 96 hours before being charged or released.

Homes are still being searched, with documents and other potential evidence being seized.

Raids are also underway at other key premises, including a jewellery shop in the centre of Paris.

The source confirmed that ‘months of surveillance’ has taken place, including phone taps.

Spending patterns have been looked at, and attempts to re-sell the jewellery stolen in October.

Beyond the five thought to have been directly involved in the crime, others include so called ‘fences’ who can dispose of stolen goods.

One theory is that many of Ms Kardashian’s jewels ended up in Antwerp – the diamond capital of Europe.

Belgium police are known to be involved in the investigation, and are carrying out checks in a number of businesses in the port city.

Ms Kardashian, who flew out of Paris within hours of her ordeal, will now have to undergo the ordeal of watching a video of all the men.

It is being sent to New York, where she will have to watch it with American officers working with the French.

‘The hope is that she will be able to recognise the men, so as to make positive identifications,’ said the source.

Ms Kardashian has said she is prepared to return to France if summoned by a judge leading the investigation.

Mr Veil said last year that ‘she is very calm and very determined over a matter that was particularly violent’.

He said: ‘If she is summoned to France, she will come to France, but judges also have the possibility of moving [to the USA]. This is a formal process, which cannot be done on the phone, or even via a video link.’

The five men thought to have been directly involved in the attack face charges of ‘armed robbery by an organised gang, criminal conspiracy and kidnapping’.

An instructing judge is leading an investigation involving some 100 judicial and criminal brigade officers.

All the pictures DM had of the robbers were all blurred out.