Brussels Criminal Court: trial for spectacular Brussels Airport hold-up
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    Brussels Criminal Court: trial for spectacular Brussels Airport hold-up

    © Belga
    The €37 million diamond robbery trial is currently taking place.
    © Belga

    The trial of the alleged Brussels Airport robbers began this morning with the 47th Criminal Court in Brussels hearing the case. The brief facts are as follows. On February 18th, 2013, vans belonging to the company Brink’s, and an aeroplane owned by the company Swiss International Airlines were held up by at least eight armed and masked men, at Brussels Airport in Zaventem. They walked away with diamonds having a total value of €37 million.

    The trial commenced on Wednesday, in the absence of the main defendant, Marc Bertoldi, currently imprisoned in France for other offences. His counsel, Me Dimitri de Béco, has already stated that he will request a separate hearing for the criminal case. He would like his client to be tried at a later date, when Bertoldi will be able to attend the trial.

    As mentioned above, on February 18th, 2013, a major hold-up was committed at Brussels Airport by at least eight armed and masked men. They entered the airport premises and approached a Swiss International Airlines aeroplane, which was transporting a shipment of diamonds, collected by the company Brink’s. The robbers walked away with 121 parcels, containing diamonds to the value of €37 million and fled.

    The investigation conducted by the Brussels courts, with assistance from France, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Morocco, had led on May 7th, 2013, to the arrest of the Frenchman, Marc Bertoldi, in Metz, and seven other suspects in Belgium the following day. Further individuals were arrested in the weeks and months which followed.

    At the end of October 2016, the Brussels court in chambers referred the cases of nineteen suspects to the Brussels Criminal Court. Some of these cases related to diamond thefts, others for theft and setting fire to vehicles used in the commission of the crimes, and further cases for concealing diamonds and money laundering.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times