A gang armed with Kalashnikov rifles has attacked the motorcade of Saudi prince in Paris, according to The Local. The group made off with £200,000 in cash, along with documents that were described as “sensitive”.
The robbery took place as the motorcade travelled through northern Paris on its way from the Champs Elysees to an airport in Le Bourget.
A team of between five to eight suspects hijacked ten vehicles in the motorcade after approaching in two BMWs. They made off with cash, secret documents and three hostages who were later freed. Despite seriousness of the incident there were no reported injuries.
The Saudis’ Mercedes and one of the thieves’ BMWs were later found abandoned and burned out in the village of Saint-Mesmes, to the north-east of Paris, approximately 25 miles from the scene of the crime.
At the scene the Police found two 500 euro notes and some documents, which are likely to be at least some of the sensitive ones. Discarding them might indicate the motive for the crime was financial rather than espionage related.
A source close to the investigation confirmed the theft of diplomatic documents but told AFP: “For the moment, we have no details about the nature of these documents. They could be sensitive documents but they could equally well be unimportant.”
Whatever the motive the robbery was well organised, and the gang were well armed in a country that has strict gun laws. The Police told AFP: “It’s quite an unusual attack. They were obviously well-informed. It’s true that it’s quite a rare way of operating,”
Serious attacks on wealthy Arabs are becoming more common in France, they are targeted as they carry enormous amounts of cash. They are also easy to spot due to their ostentatious displays of wealth. Most Ara princes have second homes in Europe, principally in London but also in places like Paris. They usually fly all their family and servants over for a few months a year.
Their presence in London has led to complaints because they drive around the Knightsbridge district in their super-cars. The loudness of the engines, and sheer number of them keeps residents of the well-heeled district awake at night.