A 67-year-old man awaiting trial for the robbery of American reality star Kim Kardashian in Paris four years ago has told all in a new book, laying out his life history and his involvement in the heist. “Everything went smoothly,” he said.
Yunice Abbas, who described himself as a “part-time crook”, was one of 12 people arrested for stealing a small fortune in jewels after surprising Kardashian in the luxury residence she had rented to attend 2016 Fashion Week.
It was the biggest robbery committed against an individual in France in two decades, with the thieves making off with a combined haul worth about €9 million ($10.8 million).
Most of the stolen pieces were never found: Police have recovered only a diamond-encrusted cross that Abbas dropped while leaving the scene by bike.
“The jurors will have to decide," Abbas told AFP. "And in theory they’ll do it based only on what’s presented to them in court, but 50 stories have already been told about all this. I wanted to tell my truth, the one I’ve lived.”
He was one of five men aged 60 to 72 – dubbed the “Grandpa robbers” in the press – who entered Kardashian’s apartment at around 2:30am on the night of October 3, 2016.
Kardashian later told police the men, at least one of whom was wearing a jacket with a police insignia, tied her up with plastic cables and adhesive tape before placing her in the bathtub.
‘I needed the money’
Abbas said the whole incident unfolded quickly and went off without a hitch.
“It went fast – maybe five, six, seven minutes – from entry to exit, because everything went smoothly. Nobody interfered, the victim handed over the jewels without resistance,” he said.
But he was the last to leave the scene of the crime, and as he entered the street he found himself face to face with a police patrol.
“I was shutting the door and they looked at me, so I gave a little sign, like a salute," he said.
“They were just on one of their rounds, but obviously I was nervous. I looked calm, or at least I tried to, and it worked.”
Abbas said that he had regrets almost immediately. He was one of more than a dozen suspects arrested three months later.
Abbas has spent his life in and out of jail – 21 years in total – but had been “clean” for nine years before being offered the Kardashian heist “at a time when I needed the money".
After spending 22 months behind bars a judge released him on health grounds, and Abbas now hopes a jury will be lenient since he underwent heart surgery.
“My fear is returning to prison, my health is no longer good,” he said. “If you have an attack, you might have to wait hours before they can do anything, with catastrophic results.”
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)