French police arrest a dozen suspects over Saudi carjacking

French police have arrested nine people in connection with a brazen robbery of a Saudi prince's convoy (AFP Photo/Valery Hache)

Paris (AFP) - French police arrested around a dozen suspects on Monday in connection with a spectacular robbery on the convoy of a Saudi prince in Paris last year that netted the thieves 250,000 euros.

The suspects were picked up in the Paris region and are now in custody, a police source told AFP.

The source said some of the suspects had been quickly identified after the carjacking, but that investigators lacked evidence to arrest them.

Months of work probing the suspects' finances provided enough evidence to lead to the wave of arrests on Monday.

The attack on the prince's convoy took place in August in northern Paris as the motorcade was making its way from a plush hotel on the Champs Elysees to an airport in Le Bourget.

A gang of between five and eight thieves in two BMWs hijacked the first of around 10 vehicles in the convoy, driving off with the three occupants before letting them go, police said.

The Saudis' Mercedes and one of the thieves' BMWs were later found abandoned and burned out in the village of Saint-Mesmes, to the northeast of Paris, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the scene of the crime.

Police found two 500-euro notes, documents in Arabic, and medication near the burnt-out wrecks of the two cars. The thieves also made off with "sensitive" diplomatic documents.

At the time, police described the attack as "unusual" and said the assailants were "obviously well-informed".

No one was hurt in the attack.

Airport sources said the prince was Abdul Aziz Bin Fahd, the multi-millionaire youngest son of King Fahd, who died in 2005.

The prince, who has something of a playboy reputation, was apparently already at Le Bourget when the convoy was attacked. Despite the raid, he took off for an unknown destination.