$50 mn Belgium diamond heist

Eurasia News

Police in Belgium, France and Switzerland have arrested 33 people and recovered “a large quantity” of diamonds and cash in a coordinated probe into a spectacular $50-million diamond heist at Brussels airport.

The Belgian prosecutor’s office said a suspected member of the eight-man gang that staged the brazen robbery three months ago was picked up in France on Tuesday, while Swiss police made eight arrests and seized many of the missing diamonds.

“The probe led to a big police operation yesterday,” spokesman Jean-Marc Meilleur told a news conference.

In early morning raids across Belgium on Wednesday involving some 200 officers, Belgian police made 24 arrests and “recovered big amounts of cash”, Meilleur added.

The brazen heist was carried out by eight men who pulled up on a runway at around 8 pm where a Swiss passenger aircraft was about to take off and forced open the cargo hold to reach gems already loaded on to the plane.

The gang, posing as police officers, cut through the airport’s perimeter fence and made off with a haul of 50 million dollars (38 million euros) in diamonds through the same breach.

The Belgian authorities said some of the suspects detained in Belgium, aged between 30 and 50, were “well known” to police.