€1 million reward offered in Cannes jewel heist

Emma Woollacott

Insurer Lloyds of London is offering a €1 million reward for information leading to the recovery of jewels stolen from a Cannes hotel.

On July 28, in a robbery reminiscent of a Pink Panther movie, an armed man swiped rings, pendants and earrings worth over £88 million. They formed part of the Extraordinary Diamonds exhibition at the Carlton hotel staged by a Dubai-based group owned by Russian-Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev.

The robbery was France's largest ever, but more than a week on, the police have not announced any leads.

"A reward of up to 1,000,000 euros pro rata is offered to the first person who provides information which leads to recovery of the goods. Offer subject to certain conditions," reads a statement from Lloyds. "Persons with specific information should contact SW Associates on 0033 610950564 between 18h00-19h00 or send a mail to reward1millionE@gmail.com."

Lloyds is offering the reward on behalf of the syndicate insuring the jewels, a move that's unusual in France. "The reward needs to be approved by the French judiciary, and we have to abide by the local laws where a crime is committed," a spokesman said.

However, it's not unprecedented: indeed, a similarly-sized reward drew out several informants following another huge jewel robbery in France in 2008 and ultimately resulted in the recovery of most of the stolen items.

The Cannes robber, masked and carrying a semi-automatic pistol, is believed to have entered the hotel through an open window leading onto a terrace overlooking the street. Nobody was hurt. In a case of life imitating art, the hotel was one of the main locations for the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock movie To Catch a Thief, which starred Cary Grant a jewel robber.

The robbery was the third major jewel theft in the city in as many months: during the Cannes Film Festival in May, jewels worth €750,000 were stolen from a safe in the hotel room of an employee of Swiss jeweller Chopard. Soon after, a €2 million necklace was taken from a party.