Main suspect of spectacular Brussels Airport diamond heist extradited to Belgium

The main suspect of the spectacular diamond heist at Brussels Airport, 6 years ago, has been extradited by France. This has been confirmed by the Halle-Vilvoorde judicial authorities. 

The main suspect, Frenchman Marc Bertoldi, is being considered as the brain behind the robbery, during which a shipment of diamonds worth 37 million euros was stolen from the cargo room of a plane waiting on the Zaventem tarmac. Due to its size, several media labelled it as "the most spectacular diamond robbery in several decades". 

The man could only be extradited now because he was behind bars in France in a case of kidnapping. 18 other suspects who could be identified were left off the hook last year in May, due to a lack of evidence, which caused widespread indignation.

However, public prosecutors launched an appeal against this ruling and a new trial should take place in 2020. The court case in which this main suspect will appear, will start on 10 May.

The robbery took place on 18 February 2013. After a hole had been made in the airport fence at the back of the large airport premises, two cars drove onto the tarmac at high speed, stopping at a Swiss aircraft which was about to leave the terminal.

Eight armed men wearing masks and carrying heavy guns threatened staff working for the Brink's transport firm, to force them to hand over 121 packages with diamonds from the cargo. They next drove back, using the same hole in the fence to escape. This all took just 5 minutes.