A millionaire French businessman was held hostage for two months in Marbella while criminals forced him to empty his bank accounts and convert his fortune into gold bars, Spanish police have revealed.
The kidnappers, described as “hardened criminals” aged between 45 and 57, held the unnamed Frenchman over the summer while they extorted €1.3m of his funds. They then released him, telling him to continue sending them €100,000 per week on pain of death. “He was terrified,” police said.
The gang – reportedly four or five men – was arrested in raids earlier this month in Marbella, a resort in southern Spain, but the case has just come to public light. Police only uncovered the kidnapping and extortion after the businessman’s bank signalled “totally atypical” activity. The gang released their hostage on July 13, but police waited until September 5 to carry out their arrest.
“Our priority was to identify the whole team,” said a French police spokesman in Toulouse.
During the filmed arrests, officers found 56 gold bars and €90,000 in cash in the Marbella flat, as well as computer equipment “to help commit more hold-ups and kidnappings,” according to a police report.
The gang was already wanted in France for holding up a gun shop in the town of Carmaux on May 19. Three days later, they kidnapped the businessman.