French police investigating the theft of nearly $10 million in jewels from Kim Kardashian arrested 17 people on Monday, including a chauffeur who drove the American reality television star around Paris in the days before the robbery.
Many of those arrested in co-ordinated police raids in several different parts of France were known underworld figures aged around 50 and at least three were women, police and judicial sources said.
French radio and TV reports on Monday said DNA traces from the scene of the heist led police to the suspects and that they would be held for questioning, possibly for as much as four days.
A police source said one of those detained was Kardashian’s chauffeur when she was visiting Paris in October for Fashion Week and that police were trying to establish whether he had passed on information to the gang.
Kardashian, 36, was photographed frequently while on the Paris trip, attending fashion shows and parties. She also posted numerous pictures to her social media accounts.
Jean Veil, a French lawyer for Kardashian, told France 2 television: “She (Kardashian) is very happy, very satisfied and to a certain extent reassured by the efficiency of the French police.”
Thieves wearing ski masks and clothes with police markings burst into the luxury property where Kardashian, who is married to US rap star Kanye West, was sleeping in the early hours of October 3. They tied her up at gunpoint before making off with her engagement ring and other jewels, police said at the time. They fled on bicycles with jewellery worth 9 million euros ($9.5 million).
Kardashian was badly shaken but physically unharmed. She has mostly since kept a low public profile but broke her silence on the robbery in a promotional clip for the upcoming season of her reality TV show Keeping Up With the Kardashians, which was released on Friday.