Kardashian driver released from French police custody

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French police investigating the armed robbery of Kim Kardashian in Paris last year have released a driver used by the star along with two other people, a legal source told AFP on Wednesday.

The arrest of the driver had led to suspicions that the gang had inside information on Kardashian’s movements.

The driver, who works for a company which provides transport for VIPs including the Kardashian family, had reportedly tipped off the others that her bodyguard Pascal Duvier was absent and gave them details about her residence.

Duvier was not with Kardashian when the robbery took place because he was providing security for her sister Kourtney at a Paris nightclub. He no longer works for the family.

Fourteen people remain in custody, including a 72-year-old who is suspected of being among the armed men who took part in the stunning break-in at a luxury apartment in central Paris, making off with jewellery worth around nine million euros ($9.5 million).

Two other people who were arrested earlier this week have been released, the source said.

Investigators believe they have detained five men who took part in the theft including a 72-year-old and a 60-year-old, both with long criminal records for robbery.

The septuagenarian was arrested at a pink-walled villa in the Provencal city of Grasse on Monday.

Police tracked down the suspects after finding DNA at the crime scene which led to a surveillance operation on the suspects.

A police source said that almost everyone arrested was known for organised crime.

The armed and masked men wearing police uniforms burst into Kardashian’s residence in the chic Madeleine area of the capital where the 36-year-old and her entourage were staying during Paris Fashion Week in October.

Kardashian was tied up and locked in the bathroom. The haul included a ring worth around four million euros.

The nine million euro haul was the biggest from an individual in France in two decades. It also generated more unwanted publicity for Paris, which has seen its image damaged by major terror attacks in 2015 and last year. Luxury hotel bookings and foreign tourist arrivals in France are both down.

The biggest French jewellery heist ever occurred in July 2013, when robbers attacked an exhibition of “Extraordinary Diamonds” at the Carlton hotel in Cannes and made off with an estimated 103 million euros in jewels.

-AFP

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