Twelve people will stand trial in France for their role in robbing celebrity Kim Kardashian of jewels and diamonds at gunpoint in 2016, sources close to the case told AFP on Friday.
In the biggest French holdup targeting an individual in 20 years, Kardashian was robbed of jewellery worth an estimated six million euros ($7 million) while she was staying at a luxury residence during Paris fashion week.
Among the suspects arrested four months later in Paris and in the south of France is Aomar Ait Khedache, known as “Old Omar”, who is thought to be the ringleader of the gang.
Two investigating magistrates ordered the 12 suspects to stand trial by jury — which in France is reserved for the most serious crimes — on charges including armed robbery, kidnapping and membership of a criminal gang, the sources said.
In the night of October 2-3, 2016, several men, some impersonating police officers, entered the hotel where Kardashian, who was then 36, was staying.
Two of the intruders put guns to her head, and one, Kardashian later told detectives, addressed her “with a very strong French accent” in English, telling her to hand over a ring she was wearing.
They then tied her up, gagged her and carried her into the bathroom.
Three men meanwhile kept watch at the reception, and one was waiting at the wheel of a getaway car.
In addition to the ring, which featured an 18.88-carat near-flawless diamond, the group made off with several more pieces of gold and diamond jewellery.
One of the alleged robbers, Yunice Abbas, fleeing the scene on a bicycle, dropped a diamond-encrusted cross worth 30,000 euros, which was found by a passer-by a few hours later.
The thieves lost a few more items while on the run, but the bulk of the bounty has never been found and is believed to have been sold in Belgium.
Ten members of the gang, which police has described as “old-style”, are charged with their role in the theft itself, while another suspect is accused of involvement with the gang for a different crime.
One other is to be tried for violating gun laws in a case linked to the Kardashian heist.