• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Paris: Armed gang attack 'Saudi prince's' convoy
A gang armed with Kalashnikovs targeted the motorcade of a Saudi prince in Paris on Sunday night. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP

Paris: Armed gang attack 'Saudi prince's' convoy

The Local · 18 Aug 2014, 10:16

Published: 18 Aug 2014 10:16 GMT+02:00

Kalashnikov-wielding robbers attacked the motorcade of a Saudi prince in Paris, on Sunday, making off with €250,000 ($335,000) in cash and reportedly stealing "sensitive" documents, French police said
Monday.

The spectacular robbery took place in northern Paris late on Sunday evening as the motorcade was making its way from a plush hotel on the Champs Elysees to an airport in Le Bourget, said police, who confirmed there were no injuries.

A gang of "between five and eight" thieves in two BMWs hijacked the first of around 10 vehicles in the convoy, driving off with the three occupants before letting them go, police said.

The Saudis' Mercedes and one of the thieves' BMWs were later found abandoned and burned out in the village of Saint-Mesmes, to the northeast of Paris, approximately 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the scene of the crime.

Police found two 500 euro notes, documents in Arabic and medication near the burnt-out wrecks of the two cars.

According to the local daily Le Parisien, the robbers made off with "sensitive" diplomatic documents.

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."

'The robbers were well-informed'

The Saudi embassy in Paris could not be immediately reached for comment.

"It's quite an unusual attack. They were obviously well-informed. It's true that it's quite a rare way of operating," one police source told AFP.

No suspects have yet been apprehended.

The head of a national police union, Nicolas Comte, said: "We need to find out what they were looking for, the money or the documents."

"I hope we will also have efficient cooperation with the Saudi authorities," he added.

The investigation has been turned over to the BRB special police unit in charge of armed robberies.

One source close to the investigation, who did not wish to be named, said: "If they were looking for sensitive documents, that changes the nature of the crime."

"It will no longer be an armed robbery, but something more complicated," the source added.

Initial results of the investigation have revealed that the robbers were obviously "aware of what they would find by attacking that specific car and not the others," he added.

'We're dealing with heavily armed criminals'

Frederic Lagache, from the Alliance police union, said: "We're dealing with a heavily armed and determined group of criminals."

Story continues below…

"Once again, unfortunately, we see that these individuals had no fear of the police and were not concerned about the consequences of their actions."

The incident is not the first time a Saudi convoy has been targeted by robbers in Paris.

In July last year audacious thieves impersonated police officers to rob a senior official from the Saudi Ministry of Youth and Sport shortly after his arrival in the French capital. The robbers made off with €200,000 in cash. 

The Saudi embassy has not commented on the latest robbery.

Sunday's attack is another incident that will put the spot light on the security and safety of visitors to the French capital, especially those from the wealthy Gulf states.

In a recent  interview with The Local France Chiara Corazza, head of the Greater Paris Investment Agency said that security in the French capital was one of the biggest concerns of foreign investors in the city. 

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France charges Charlie Hebdo killer’s relative
The suspect was charged after being handed over to French authorities by Bulgaria. Dimitar Dilkoff /AFP

The brother-in-law of one of the jihadists who attacked French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last year faced terrorism charges on Saturday for allegedly trying to join Islamic State fighters in Syria, a judicial source said.

French mayors dismiss suspended burqini ban
Photo: Jean Christophe Magnenet /AFP

The row over France’s burqini ban continues with several mayors vowing to keep restrictions in place despite the country’s top court suspending the ban in the resort town of Villeneuve-Loubet.

France's top court suspends burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court has suspended a town's ban on wearing the full-body burqini swimsuit.

Milk price raised, but French farmers still unhappy
The sign on the tractor reads 'We're dying', as farmers blocked Lactalis dairy headquarters. Photo: AFP

Milk prices have been raised by France's biggest dairy group to placate farmers, but unions say their demands have not been met.

Burqini bans 'dividing France's Muslim women'
Photo: AFP

The burqini bans have divided France, but they have also left Muslim women in France in two groups, argues a professor who has spent years studying the impact of the burqa.

Pizza-delivery drones could be on their way to France
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's your pizza. Photo: AFP

No more need to deal with grumpy French waiters...

Heatwave drags on as France faces red-hot weekend
Photo: AFP

France will see searing temperatures on Friday and Saturday, as the heatwave warnings have been extended (once again).

Nice: The French capital of burqini fines
The beach in the Riviera city of Nice. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

It's one of only two of the 30 towns with a burqini ban in place to have actually given out any fines.

How to make France's famed Île Flottante dessert
Photo: Paul Oatway

France-based food blogger Laura Tobin shares her recipe for this delicious French dessert.

France's top court set to rule on burqini ban
Photo: bellmon1/Flickr

France's highest administrative court will decide this afternoon whether to overturn the burqini ban.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Education
French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
National
Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Society
Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
Society
Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Politics
Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Meet the man paying off burqini fines in France
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
2,753
jobs available