Four arrests after Monaco Cartier store raid

French police have arrested four men after an armed robbery on a Cartier jewellery store in Monaco and most of the stolen items have been recovered, sources close to the probe said on Sunday.

Four arrests after Monaco Cartier store raid
Police sealed off all roads leading out of Monaco immediately after the raid. Photo: Yann Coatsaliou/AFP

The raid on the store near the casino building in the centre of the principality was carried out in broad daylight on Saturday.

Police sealed off all roads leading out of Monaco immediately after the raid and ordered people to remain inside the casino and nearby shops while they searched for the suspects.

One man was arrested shortly after the raid and a gun was recovered and another two men were picked up in Monaco later Saturday, the source said.

A fourth man was arrested in France.

Armed robberies are rare in Monaco, one of Europe's playgrounds for the rich, although in 2012 four Lithuanian men stole a collection of around 50 watches worth around €200,000 from a jewellery store.

The men were later arrested and at trial were sentenced to prison sentences of between five and 13 years.

A Cartier store was also the target in 2015 when a masked man carrying a machine pistol burst into a store in the French Riviera resort of Cannes during the annual film festival.

He let two accomplices enter the shop and they stole watches and jewels with a value of €17.5 million ($18.9 million).


French tycoon Tapie tied up and beaten in burglary

Former French minister and scandal-ridden tycoon Bernard Tapie, once the owner of Adidas, was attacked along with his wife during a midnight burglary of their home, police said on Sunday.

French tycoon Tapie tied up and beaten in burglary
Police officers cordon off the area near the house of French businessman Bernard Tapie and his wife Dominique Tapie in Combs-la-Ville, southeastern suburbs of Paris. Photo: Stephane DE SAKUTIN / AFP

The couple were asleep when four men broke into the house in Combs-la-Ville near Paris around 00:30am on Sunday, beat them and tied them up with electrical cords before making off with their loot.

Dominique Tapie managed to free herself and made her way to a neighbour’s home, from where she called the police. Slightly injured from several blows to the face, she was taken to hospital for a check-up.

“She is doing well,” Tapie’s grandson Rodolphe Tapie told AFP.

During the burglary the perpetrators “pulled her by the hair because they wanted to know where the treasure was”, the mayor of Combs-La-Ville, Guy Geoffroy, told AFP. “But of course there was no treasure, and the fact that they didn’t find one only made the violence worse.”

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Jewellery and a Rolex

Tapie himself, who is 78, received a blow to the head with a club, prosecutor Beatrice Angelelli told AFP, but he declined to be taken into medical care.

“My grandfather refused to be taken away,” Rodolphe Tapie said. “He is shattered, very tired. He was sitting on a chair when he was hit with a club.”

The burglars broke into Tapie’s home, a vast estate known as the “Moulin de Breuil”, through a first-floor window, undetected by the guards.

They made off with two watches, including a Rolex, earrings, bracelets and a ring, according to a source close to the investigation.

Tapie was a Socialist minister who rose from humble beginnings to build a sporting and media empire, but later ran into a string of legal problems.

He made a fortune in the early part of his career by taking over failing companies in corporate raids, stripping them of their assets and selling them for profit during the high-rolling years of financial deregulation in France.

He often flaunted his wealth, including by buying a 72-metre yacht and a football club, Olympique de Marseille, which won the French championship while he was their owner.

He has also been under suspicion of match-fixing in France’s top football league.

He was briefly Minister for Urban Affairs in François Mitterrand’s government in 1992.

Many legal troubles

Tapie was found guilty in a series of cases for corruption, tax fraud and misuse of corporate assets, went to prison for five months and was stripped of the right to stand in any election in France.

After his release from prison in 1997, Tapie added showbiz to his various activities, trying his hand at acting, singing and hosting radio and TV shows.

In 2012, he also became a media boss, taking over southern French daily La Provence and other newspapers.

One fraud case has dogged Tapie for decades, involving a hugely controversial settlement worth 400 million euros ($470 million at current rates) awarded to him by a government arbitration panel, the size of which sent shockwaves through France.

READ ALSO: French tycoon Bernard Tapie’s assets frozen in fraud case

The panel judged he had been the victim of fraud when he sold his stake in the Adidas sports apparel company in 1993 to state-run French bank Crédit Lyonnais, which was found to have undervalued the sportswear brand.

‘Determined’ to stand trial

The case also ensnared then-Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, who now runs the European Central Bank. She was found guilty of “negligence”.

Lagarde’s handling of the case sparked suspicion that her former boss Nicolas Sarkozy, whom Tapie had backed for president in 2007, was favourably disposed towards the businessman – allegations Sarkozy has vehemently denied.

Last autumn, Tapie’s fraud trial was postponed for reasons of ill health because he was suffering a double stomach cancer and cancer of the oesophagus which were getting worse.

The trial is due to resume in May, with Tapie “determined” to be present, according to his lawyer.

Police are treating Sunday’s incident as a violent robbery and kidnapping, a source close to the investigation told AFP.