A relative of a high-profile minister has become the latest victim in a car park kidnapping crime spree that has targeted wealthy Parisians.

"/> A relative of a high-profile minister has become the latest victim in a car park kidnapping crime spree that has targeted wealthy Parisians.

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KIDNAPPING

Minister’s uncle held hostage in carjacking

A relative of a high-profile minister has become the latest victim in a car park kidnapping crime spree that has targeted wealthy Parisians.

The 69-year-old uncle of Bruno Le Maire, the agriculture minister, was attacked at around 5.30pm on Wednesday as he was leaving an underground car park in the wealthy 16th arrondissement of the capital, newspaper Aujourd’Hui reports.

He was confronted by two men who punched him in the face then stole his bank card and demanded to know his PIN code. The attackers then forced the minister’s uncle into the trunk of their own car, a Renault Clio, before driving several kilometres.

“The man didn’t know where he was being driven nor which route his attackers had taken,” said a source close to the matter, quoted by the newspaper. “He was very shocked and suffered damage to his face as a result of the punches he received.”

The kidnappers released the man at around 8pm in an industrial park in Bobigny, north east of Paris. He was described as “shaken” and taken to hospital by police.

The kidnap gang has struck at least four times in the last two months.

In August, two  separate victims, a man and a woman, were both ordered into the boots of their own cars and then driven around for several hours while the kidnappers withdrew money from their bank accounts. On each occasion, the victims were later abandoned in the outskirts of the city.

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RESTAURANT

Another person charged in Nice hotelier ‘kidnapping’ case

Another person has been charged over the suspected kidnapping of a millionaire French hotel magnate, who was found tied up in the back of a van in 2016, the prosecutor in Nice said on Friday.

Another person charged in Nice hotelier 'kidnapping' case
The Grand Hotel in Cannes, co-owned by Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

Jacqueline Veyrac, 76, the owner of the Michelin-starred La Reserve restaurant in the French Riviera city of Nice was snatched last October as she was getting into her SUV.

She was discovered 48 hours later after being spotted by a passerby bound, gagged and tied to the van's floor.

The legal development comes after five people, four men and a woman, were questioned by investigators about their possible participation in the kidnapping after being arrested earlier this week.

In total, 16 people have already been implicated in the case, including nine who have been imprisoned.

The former manager of a gourmet restaurant in Nice, identified as Giuseppe S, is suspected of ordering the kidnapping because he harboured a grudge against Veyrac.

Originally from Turin, he managed La Reserve from 2007 until 2009 when his company went into liquidation.

Investigators believe this caused him to resent Veyrac, and suspect the kidnapping was a bid to recover money lost during the liquidation by demanding a ransom from those close to her.

Veyrac, whose husband died five years ago, co-owns the five-star Grand Hotel, as well as La Reserve, with one of her sons.

Veyrac was targeted in another attempted kidnapping in 2013, commissioned by the same man, according to the investigation.