Paris – French police have arrested three men for robbing the head of the Mongolian Olympic delegation during a visit to Paris, making off with a bag containing almost 600 000 euros worth of jewels in a drive-by heist, law enforcement sources told AFP.
France is preparing to host the Summer Olympics in 2024 and the member of the International Olympic Committee arrived in Paris to attend a security committee meeting ahead of the Games.
The three men were arrested last week in Seine-Saint-Denis,a low-income suburb north of Paris that is to host key Olympic events and the athletes’ village, several law enforcement sources, who asked not to be named, told AFP late on Wednesday.
On October 11, the Mongolian official, who was not named, and his wife were travelling from Charles de Gaulle Airport when they were robbed in the Landy Tunnel heading to the centre of the capital, according to the prosecutors.
The 1.3 km long tunnel is notorious for smash-and-grab thefts.
During the heist, a scooter with two men approached the car, with one of the thieves breaking a window and snatching a bag containing jewellery from the back seat, a police source said.
The Mongolian couple estimated the contents of the stolen bag at 570 000 euros ($605,000), prosecutors said.
According to the International Olympic Committee, the victim runs several companies in Mongolia.
On October 25, three men aged between 22 and 25 were arrested in Saint-Denis, the sources said.
Investigators believe that on October 2 the same team robbed two Saudi travellers, stealing 500 000 euros worth of jewels and other valuables.
During the searches police have not been able to find any valuables but numerous photos of jewellery have been discovered on the suspects’ phones, police sources said.
The men admitted to having earned 6 000 euros re-selling watches but remained silent on the fate of the Mongolian couple’s jewels.
The suspects were placed in pre-trial detention, and a court hearing was set to take place on November 30.
Follow African Insider on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
For more African news, visit Africaninsider.com