‘Kidnap gang boss’ arrested in Malaga

THE leader of a gang which kidnapped at least 21 businessmen and threatened them with fake explosive vests was arrested in Malaga. The Algerian is just one of 16 people arrested in France and Spain, as a result of an operation carried out by police in both countries and in Luxembourg. 

Officers have recovered €124,000 in cash, five luxury watches, six guns, three swords, two motorbikes, two cars and two bullet-proof vests. 

The victims of one kidnapping were snared in Morocco by a high-class prostitute who offered them the chance to take part in a profitable business buying computer equipment.

She persuaded them to travel to Paris with large amounts of cash. The six businessmen were held in a hotel until they handed over almost €1 million in cash.

Later, the leader of the gang travelled to Luxembourg, where he claimed to be the head of security for an Arab prince willing to invest large amounts in buying jewellery.

He managed to gather 15 jewellers and watchmakers, who were threatened with guns and forced to hand over €1 million in cash and €1.3 million in jewellery and watches.

To prevent the victims from escaping, the kidnappers used vests which they claimed contained explosives which would detonate if any of them tried to leave. 

Following this, the alleged leader of the gang headed to the Costa del Sol. He was stopped at a routine vehicle checkpoint in Malaga. While police were examining his ID, he fled the scene.

Just weeks later, he was stopped again in Torremolinos and immediately arrested. At the time, he was wearing one of the luxury watches stolen in Luxembourg.

Before committing these two crimes, he had escaped from prison in Avignon, France, in October 2012 and had created a network in Spain to sell the jewellery and watches and launder money. The other suspects were traced to Malaga, Valencia, Lyon, Marseille and Paris.

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