In the early hours of Monday, October 3, a gang dressed as police officers stormed the Paris hotel where the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star was staying, in a raid as audacious as it was shocking.
The prize? £4.5 million worth of jewellery which the 35-year-old mother of two — who is married to rap artist Kanye West — had been flashing on social media all week.
Having broken in to the apartment — reports are conflicting as to how they did it — the gang then tied her up, threatened her at gunpoint and dumped her in the bathtub, before making off with her diamonds.
All this without a single police officer being alerted until they had made their escape.
Some are now pointing the finger at the Pink Panthers, a network of jewel thieves from the Balkans whose raids have targeted the most valuable gems on the planet. It must, of course, have been a horrific experience for Kim — but that doesn’t stop the conspiracy theories, which have gathered pace in the past two weeks as more facts emerge. The latest centres on a mysterious video released on Tuesday showing the crime scene. Within hours it had been removed by Kim’s lawyers.
So what really happened at the Hotel de Pourtales last week? With the help of expert analysis, ALISON BOSHOFF and SAM GREENHILL examine the questions that remain unanswered . . .
1 WHO FILMED THE MYSTERY VIDEO?
On Tuesday, celebrity website Radar Online posted a three-minute video of the inside of the apartment on the night the robbery happened.
Within a couple of hours it had been taken down, possibly because under French law it is illegal to film someone in a private space without their consent. The footage appears to have been shot covertly by someone inside the room — there’s speculation it could have been a policeman.
In it, you see an apparently calm Kim Kardashian sitting on a sofa wrapped in a blanket, making a video call on her mobile phone. Policemen and a forensics worker are also shown, talking as they examine the rooms.
There’s a huge TV and the doors — through which the raiders must have entered — appear undamaged.
Though it has been said she was not filming for Keeping Up With The Kardashians, cameras and lights appear to have been set up in the room. Her assistant is also wearing what looks like a lapel microphone.
Former FBI agent Manny Gomez, who once won FBI Investigator of the Year, told the site: ‘It is interesting to me how calm she and her personal assistant appear to be. She was acting very normally, as if nothing happened.’
2 WHY WAS SHE ALLOWED TO STAY AT THAT HOTEL?
Known as the ‘no address hotel’, this discreet residence is a hop and a skip from Rue Cambon, a prime location in Paris where many celebrities choose to stay. However, despite the evident prestige and fancy artwork, the hotel has poor security — there are no CCTV cameras on the outside or inside of the building.
A former French Foreign Legion captain called Axel, who runs Paris-based global security firm Lisda, said he’d never have recommended it to a famous or wealthy client. ‘Security hardly exists there, that was a robbery waiting to happen,’ he said.
Surely their highly paid security team should have warned Kanye and Kim that it was an inadvisable choice — especially given the incredibly valuable jewellery inside?
3 WHERE WAS SECURITY ON THE NIGHT?
This is perhaps the £4.5 million question. The couple employ experienced bodyguard Pascal Duvier as their head of security. He is in charge of a team that includes both drivers and close protection staff. Numbers on the team reportedly vary between three and a dozen.
It is said by her PR team that Kim had three bodyguards on the trip, but they were split between her and her two sisters, who were at another hotel.
Why so few, when at home in Los Angeles there are a permanent team of four, day and night? Her PR team told gossip magazine Page Six that it was her decision to send Duvier out with her sister Kourtney that night.
Why would Duvier consent to this? Sources who work in close protection say that it is unheard-of for a ‘principal’ who is this high-profile and wealthy to be left without at least one bodyguard on duty throughout the night, outside the door.
Even if he went with Kourtney, why wasn’t someone else assigned to Kim? And who accompanied her to the hotel in the first place?
In the circumstances, why hasn’t Duvier been fired? He is still the couple’s head of security.
Revelations that he filed for bankruptcy for his German security company 11 weeks ago with debts of more than £800,000 may increase the pressure to let him go.
4 WHY WASN’T SHE TOLD TO BOLT THE DOOR?
Police were initially puzzled as to how the robbers got into the flat.
First, reports said that the concierge had been overpowered by gunmen and left tied up in a cupboard.
Following a telephone interview with Kim last Tuesday, police were told the concierge had let the raiders into the lift, which works via keycard and pin number, and then through an armoured door using a master key.
But why wasn’t the door to the apartment bolted on the inside? A basic security precaution which, again, you would expect her protection team to have told her to take?
Almost all modern hotel rooms have a lock or bolt on the inside of the door. Either this one didn’t — the reports are unclear — or Kim felt so safe that she didn’t bolt the door.
5 WHO WAS IN THE APARTMENT WITH HER?
Confusion reigns. The initial statement, by Kim’s PR Ina Treciokas, said that Kim’s children North and Saint were ‘not in the room at the time’. It later emerged, though, that they were in New York all along.
Her long-time friend and stylist Simone Harouche was said to have been asleep in a downstairs bedroom of the two-storey apartment. Some reports say she locked herself in the downstairs bathroom when she heard the commotion and tried to call 911.
911? Hmmm but the emergency no in France is 113. No wonder it didn’t work.
She then is said to have either phoned or texted Duvier, and he arrived ‘within two minutes’ according to the entertainment website E!
Other reports say Simone was only woken by Kim screaming once she had freed herself from ties and a gag.
6 WHY DID NEIGHBOURS HEAR NOTHING?
Reports from People magazine say Kim was ‘screaming’ during and after the robbery and that she went out on a balcony to shout for help.
There are, though, no witnesses to this, according to police sources. As reported in Le Parisien newspaper, neighbours ‘did not hear a thing’.
7 HOW DID THE ROBBERS TIE HER UP? According to multiple reports, Kim was gagged with tape and bound hand and foot — reportedly with cable ties.
People magazine reported that she ‘wriggled free’ of her bonds. US Weekly said: ‘After they left she was able to wiggle her hands out the tie.’
If they were zip ties, this would be near impossible. They are made of a durable nylon with tiny teeth down one side and a moulded ratchet on the end.
They lock when the teeth align, and more movement only tightens them. If they are tied in front, they can be broken if you raise your hands above your head and bring them down with force and speed while pulling your elbows apart.
However, survival experts warn it will cut deeply into your wrists. There was no sign of any injury to Kim’s hands when she arrived in New York on Monday afternoon last week, or in the Radar video.
WHAT WAS IN THE JEWELLERY BOX?
From the very first reports, the value of the jewellery taken remained consistent at £8.5 million. Police said the men stole a jewellery box worth more than £5 million and a ring worth £3.5 million.
The ring is presumably her second engagement ring, a massive Lorraine Schwartz diamond worth around that amount. The rest of the haul, though, remains a mystery. She was not seen wearing anything over the previous week that would be worth anything like this sum.
Insurance documents have now come to light saying that the 13 items taken are worth a much more modest — but still enormous — £4.5 million.
9 DID THE CROOKS REALLY GET AWAY ON BIKES?
Luc Poignant, a spokesman for the investigative unit of the Paris police, said three of the men left on foot and two on bicycles — Velibs, the Paris equivalent of Boris bikes.
This is one of the strangest claims about the whole heist. Chunky Velibs are notorious for their sluggishness and low speeds.
And where did they hire the Velibs? The nearest pick-up station is several hundred yards away.
If they arrived on the machines, where did they park them without fearing they might be pinched?
10 DID THE POLICE GATHER ALL THE EVIDENCE?
There is some surprise that Kim flew back to New York on a private plane at 10am, just seven hours after the robbery.
Police sources indicate that she had given a statement at her apartment. It is not believed she went to a police station.
It is unclear if forensic teams tested her clothing and skin for any possible DNA samples that may have been left by her attackers.
In normal circumstances, the victim of such a serious crime would be expected to be interviewed at length by both police and prosecutors over several days.
Other strange points:
Police have said that Kim had been locked in the bathroom — an odd detail, as most bathrooms only lock from the inside. But sources close to Kim said that the door had not been locked.
Police also said that two iPhones belonging to Kim were stolen. However, other sources reported that she texted her bodyguard after the robbery — and another said she rang him while screaming for help on the balcony.
Adding to the confusion, she was seen with a phone on the day of the robbery.
Initial reports said there were two robbers. Within a few hours this had increased to ‘about five’.
Can someone shed some light on this bizarre crime? What’s the truth and nothing but the truth?
Source: Daily mail uk