As Kim Kardashian rang in a new year, the investigation into her Paris robbery also produced many new developments.
Three months ago in the early hours of Oct. 3 in France, the reality star was bound, gagged and held at gunpoint in her hotel room at the celebrity-favored Hôtel de Pourtalès by masked men dressed as police officers. To gain entry, five men allegedly poured into the hotel, handcuffed the solo concierge, threatened him with a weapon and forced him to open Kardashian’s room.
“They’re going to shoot me in the back,” Kim recalled during a promo for Keeping Up With the Kardashians. “There’s no way out. It makes me so upset to think about it.”
After stealing one of Kardashian’s rings, a 20-carat diamond worth an estimated $4.49 million, as well as a jewelry box, valued at an estimated $5.6 million, the thieves left the tied-up reality star alive in the bathroom and fled.
Kardashian’s friend and stylist Simone Harouche was inside the apartment at the time, but not on the same floor. Upon hearing the commotion, she locked herself in a downstairs bathroom and texted their bodyguard, Pascal Duvier.
After the robbers left, Kardashian got to her friend with duct tape on her legs and told her to jump off the balcony to get free.
According to French newspaper Le Monde, the driver was employed by an upscale private limousine company often used by the famous family. French police confirmed the report to E! News, adding that the driver was the last to chauffeur Kim before the robbery and would have known all her movement.
However, NBC News later confirmed the driver—identified as 27-year-old Michael Madar—was released from police custody Tuesday night without being criminally charged. The spokesperson for the Paris Prosecutor’s office confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday that three people were released from custody overnight, including Madar, a second man and one woman.
The company that employed Madar told TMZ that he was brought in for “testimony purposes only” and had nothing to do with the crime.
Also among the arrested is a 72-year-old man identified as “Pierre B.,”the oldest and suspected mastermind of the operation. A source told E! News that Pierre was arrested after officers broke down the gate of his villa in Plascassier, a village near Grasse, in the south of France. According to AFP, the man is reportedly linked to criminal gangs in the area. Additionally, TMZ reported some of the accused are tied to the illegal diamond trade in nearby Belgium, turning the investigation into an international search.
By Wednesday, French news outlet LCI reported that several suspects in custody had confessed, though it is unclear what they confessed to doing.
Amid the arrests, Kardashian’s Paris lawyer told reporters the mogul was “amazed” by the developments.
“I sent her a message, a press review,” Jean Veil said Monday. “Later in the day she replied saying she was amazed by the work of the French police, that she was congratulating everyone.”