Insurer offers big reward in Cannes jewel heist

The heist was the largest ever in France, topping the 80 million euros ($106 million) in jewellery stolen from Harry Winston in Paris in 2008.

Paris: Insurer Lloyd`s of London plans to offer a reward of 1 million euros ($1.3 million) for information leading to the recovery of the 103 million euros ($136 million) in jewellery stolen July 28 from a hotel in the southeastern French city of Cannes, the French media reported Tuesday.

An armed robber stole the jewellery, mostly creations and precious gems belonging to diamond house Leviev, from the InterContinental Carlton Cannes Hotel.

The heist was the largest ever in France, topping the 80 million euros ($106 million) in jewellery stolen from Harry Winston in Paris in 2008.

The 72 pieces stolen were being exhibited at the July 20-Aug 30 "Extraordinary Diamonds" show.

The armed robber, who wore a mask and gloves, entered the hotel exhibition hall, where the jewellery fair was being held, and forced employees to put the majority of the pieces, 34 of which were considered exceptional, in a bag.

Lloyd`s will officially announce the reward Wednesday, French media said, citing a statement issued by the insurer over the Internet.

People with information about the robbery can contact SW Associates by telephone or e-mail.

The reward money will be paid on a pro rata basis depending on the quality of the information provided and the amount of property recovered, and it is subject to certain unspecified conditions, media reports said.
"Cannes and the Cote d`Azur are a well known, prestigious, tourist destination, and their reputation goes beyond our borders. Cannes is one of the most beautiful places in the country. The safety of merchants, of the residents, but also of the tourists, must be a priority. And it is for me," Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Tuesday.

Police are investigating two robberies that occurred in Cannes during the international film festival in May.

The first robbery occurred May 17 at the Cannes Novotel, where thieves stole a jewelry case containing Chopard creations worth 1.4 million euros.

Swiss jeweller De Grisogono reported the theft four days later of a necklace worth 2 million euros during a party in the nearby city of Antibes.

French police suspect that a man arrested on the Spanish Mediterranean island of Mallorca may be linked to the May 17 robbery and have asked for the formation of an international team to question the suspect.

The 40-year-old suspect, identified only as T.M., was arrested June 21 on charges that he stole jewellery, cash and other valuables worth about 600,000 euros from different hotels in Mallorca, one of Spain`s Balearic Islands, Spanish police said.


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