By Nathalie Alonso and Gina Doggett, AFP
PARIS — A French judge on Friday charged the alleged mastermind of the spectacular Paris heist in which five masked men robbed U.S. reality TV television star Kim Kardashian of jewelry worth millions, prosecutors said. Sixty-year-old Aomar A. was among six suspects charged on Friday over the October 3 robbery during which the celebrity was bound and gagged at gunpoint, then locked in a bathroom at the luxury residence where she was staying during Paris Fashion Week. A total of 10 people have now been charged, including five accused of playing a direct role in robbing the 36-year-old Kardashian of jewelry worth some 9 million euros (US$9.5 million). Sources close to the probe said the police unit in charge of armed robberies began watching Aomar A. — who was sentenced to seven years in prison for armed robbery in 1985 — after finding his DNA at the scene on materials used to tie up Kardashian. One of the alleged robbers was named Friday as Didier D., aged 61 and nicknamed “Blue Eyes,” the prosecutors said.
He was sentenced in 2003 to eight and half years in jail for international cocaine trafficking after being busted with two tons of the drug at a Paris airport. The surveillance soon led police to the other suspects, and on Monday, the BRB launched a series of coordinated raids in the Paris area and in southern France during which they rounded up 17 people. A Paris prosecutor on Friday praised the police unit’s “remarkable work”. A source close to the probe said some of the suspects have confessed to their involvement, but would not say which ones. The five alleged assailants, who range in age from 54 to 72, have been described as “old-school gangsters”. Wearing police uniforms, gunmen first overpowered a night watchman at the residence in the chic Madeleine area of the French capital where the U.S. celebrity was staying.