On August 2nd 2013 the Antwerp authorities announced a breakthrough in the investigation of a tiger kidnapping that took place on October 11th 2012 in Antwerp. The robbery took place when three men entered the home of an employee of the Indian diamond company KIRAN BVBA, kept his wife hostage, and forced him to empty the vaults of the Kiran offices in the Hoveniersstraat in the Antwerp diamond district. The total value of the stolen diamonds was estimated at US$ 13 million.
Police investigations now indicate the tiger kidnapping could be staged by the alleged victim, employee of KIRAN BVBA. The authorities believe the man was aided by a middle-man of Indian origin, who in turn hired an Armenian accomplice to execute the tiger kidnapping. The Armenian accomplice collaborated with two Chechen men.
Between July 22nd and 29th 2013, five persons were arrested in connection to their alleged involvement in the case, the prime suspect - a 27-year-old employee at KIRAN BVBA -, a middle-man - a 29-year-old man of Indian origin -, and three executors - a 48-year-old Armenian and two Chechens of 30 and 43 years old. Four of them are currently in custody and are said to have confessed to involvement in the case.
The alleged middle-man of Indian origin was arrested at the Dutch airport Schiphol on July 30th 2013, procedures to extradite the man to Belgium are currently ongoing.
A large part of the stolen goods, estimated at a value of US$ 8.5 million, was recovered during a raid in Antwerp on July 31st.
Former diamond dealer Ramesh Mehta from the Indian community in Antwerp commented; "This is a good thing for Belgium. Our threats to move to other diamond centres were unfounded. We were shocked by the fact this young woman was held hostage for hours. Now we are even more shocked to find out her own husband staged the whole thing."
We are surprised and appalled to learn that an employee of the concerning diamond company might be involved in this case, especially seeing how confidence is a crucial element in the diamond trade”, it was mentioned in an AWDC statement.