2013 Brussels Diamond Heist Suspects Back in News

30/11/2015 10:46

In May 2013 police in Switzerland, Belgium and France detained more than 30 people in connection with a spectacular €40 million diamond theft at Brussels airport in February of that year. Diamonds and cash were recovered in Geneva. Last week, a Geneva estate agent who hid jewels from the heist in his cellar was given a two-year suspended sentence by a court in Geneva, which found the 61-year-old man guilty of receiving stolen goods and money laundering. Judges determined he hid the diamonds, valued at almost $7 million, for over two months. “The severity of the crime is important,” the judges said. But they conceded that the man had acted in a helping capacity, rather than for financial gain. The acccused, a Geneva lawyer, was sentenced to 180 suspended day-fines (a cash penalty based on personal income). Two other accused, acquaintances of the estate agent, who had each tried to buy a diamond, were acquitted of receiving stolen goods.

Meanwhile, the main suspect in that heist, French gangster Marc Bertoldi, is back in jail for the 2014 kidnapping of Stéphanie Turci (38), girlriend of Lotus Formula 1 boss Gérard Lopez. Bertoldi claims that he saved the woman from her kidnappers, but the court is not buying it. Stéphanie Turci was kindnapped from her home in June 2014 by masked gangsters. Rumors are that Gérard Lopez paid more than $5 million for her release. She turned up three days later unharmed. Bertoldi was apprehended shortly thereafter in the same area driving the car used in the kidnapping, and his bank account was enriched by a substantial amount. The man claims he was "helping search for her" and had secured her release, but the police believe otherwise. Bertoldi is still awaiting trial in Belgium for the Zaventem diamond heist.