6 more charged in Kardashian West jewelry heist in ParisPARIS (AP) — Hailing the "remarkable work" of French police, Paris prosecutors on Friday announced preliminary charges against six more suspects in the armed jewelry heist of Kim Kardashian West.
That brings the total number of people charged so far in the probe to 10. All but one of the suspects are men, including at least one previously known to police for robbery and money forgery.
Robbers are believed to have forced their way into the apartment where Kardashian West was staying during Paris Fashion Week in October. They allegedly tied up the reality TV star and stole more than $10 million worth of jewelry. Authorities are now looking at a possible inside job.
Preliminary charges — the first in the case — were also filed against four other people on Thursday.
Paris prosecutors have identified the 10 suspects only by their first names and surname initials and their dates of birth. Those charged Friday were:
—Aomar A., 60; faces preliminary charges of armed robbery in an organized gang, kidnapping, criminal association, illegal possession of ammunition, using a fake identify and false papers.
—Pierre B., 72; preliminary charges of armed robbery in an organized gang, kidnapping and criminal association.
—Didier D., 61; preliminary charges of armed robbery in an organized gang, kidnapping, criminal association and illegally possessing a Kalashnikov rifle.
—Francois D., 54; preliminary charges of armed robbery in an organized gang, kidnapping, criminal association and possession of false papers.
—Harminy A., 29; preliminary charges of armed robbery in an organized gang, kidnapping and criminal association.
—Christiane G., 70. The only woman among the 10 was handed preliminary charges of complicity in armed robbery and kidnapping, criminal association and the illegal possession of ammunition.
On Thursday, Kardashian West's sister, Khloe Kardashian, welcomed the filing of charges as a "kind of closure" and denounced the robbery as "a disgusting act."
Rich or poor, nobody deserves "anything to be taken from them," she told The Associated Press.
BREAKING NEWS: French police charge suspect with robbing Kim Kardashian at gunpoint and leaving her bound and gagged in Paris apartment
- Kardashian, 36, was tied up and robbed at gunpoint in apartment in Paris, France
- Police have arrested 17 people in the Paris region over the October 3 robbery
- A source close to the investigation has said suspects are starting to 'come clean'
- Information about many of the suspects' criminal pasts have also come to light
KIM 'WILL NOT GET JEWELS BACK'
Shock acquittals in Wildenstein art dynasty's tax fraud trial
They had clearly intended to conceal their massive wealth from tax authorities, he said, but shortcomings in French law and in the conduct of the inquiry made it impossible to convict them.
Assets worth billions offshore
The heirs were accused of concealing assets worth billions in offshore trusts and failing to declare their full worth on the occasion of the deaths of two heads of family.
Their possessions included thorough-bred horses, artworks - including paintings by renaissance master Caravaggio, rococo painter Fragonard and post-impressionist artist Bonnard - and a gigantic ranch in Kenya that was used in the filming of Sydney Pollack's 1985 movie Out of Africa.
After their father's death in 2001, Guy and his brother Alec declared they were worth just 40.9 million euros for inheritance tax purposes, paying the bill in bas-reliefs sculpted for Louis XVI's wife, Marie-Antoinette.
When Alec died in 2008, Guy declared an inheritance of less than 60 million euros.
The prosecution called for a four-year suspended sentence and 250-million-euro fine for Guy Wildenstein, one year suspended for Stoupakova and six months suspended for Alec Junior.
None of them appeared in court.
Prosecutors also wanted a two-year suspended sentence for notary Robert Panhard, two years in jail and one suspended with a million-euro fine for Swiss lawyer Peter Altorfer and two years suspended for French lawyer Olivier Riffaud.
And they called for two trusts - one based in the Bahamas, the other in Guernsey - to be fined the maximum possible for complicity in tax fraud, 187,500 euros each.
Intention not enough for conviction
But the law has to apply equally to "the powerful and the poor", Géron said, and knowing that the family intentionally hid its wealth was not a sufficient legal basis to find them guilty.
He said he was "astonished" that French MPs had not passed laws to clarify the status of trusts until 2011, although they have been under the spotlight for over a century.
That law could not be applied to this case since it referred to events that took place before it had been passed.
Géron also criticised investigators, claiming they had failed to carry out sufficient research in the tax havens to establish that the trusts were "fictional" and that the Wildensteins had secretly maintained access to and control of their fortune.
After the verdict Guy Wildenstein's lawyer, Hervé Témine, said his client was "very relieved" while expressing concern it might give rise to controversy over "justice for the rich".
Widows, ex-wives and lawsuits
The first signs of trouble for the Wildensteins came in 2005 when Daniel's second wife, Sylvia Roth-Wildenstein, sued Guy and Alec, accusing them of hiding the true extent of the family's wealth when her husband died.
In 2011 Stoupakova filed suit for breach of trust, claiming that she had been deprived of her fair share of the inheritance.
There were further legal worries in the US in the same year when prosecutors opened an investigation into suspicions of receiving stolen goods and breach of trust against Guy Wildenstein, seizing several paintings, including one by impressionist Berthe Morisot valued at 800,000 euros.
New tax case pending
The case has been an embarrassment for former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who made Guy Wildenstein, a member of his party's US branch, a commnader of the Legion of Honour in 2009, describing him as a "friend".
Thursday's acquittal will not be the end of the Wildensteins' legal difficulties.The French fiscal authorities are pursuing them for 550 million euros in allegedly unpaid taxes.