Alleged organiser of German poker heist arrested

28th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

German police on Friday arrested a suspected organiser of an armed robbery of a high-stakes poker tournament at one of Berlin's swankiest hotels -- a man who played in the tournament himself.

The suspect, identified by authorities as Mohammed Abou-C., 31, observed where the money was kept as he took part in the poker tournament and gave the information to the robbers, prosecutors spokesman Martin Steltner told AFP.

He was arrested as he waited at a stoplight in central Berlin shortly after midnight. His nationality has not been given.

The tournament, the German leg of the European Poker Tour, attracted around 950 participants, including German tennis legend Boris Becker, with 4.7 million euros in prize money up for grabs.

On March 6, a masked gang of four wielding handguns and machetes burst into the Hyatt hotel near Berlin's Potsdamer Platz and made off with bags of cash in the ensuing chaos, which was captured on dramatic TV pictures.

They made off with 242,000 euros (298,000 dollars), and police have only been able to recover 4,000 euros of the stash.

Authorities arrested the first suspect on March 15, a 21-year-old German who provided the names of three alleged accomplices -- a German, a Turk and a Lebanese -- who were also detained.

Several days later, a 28-year-old Lebanese man suspected of driving the get-away car was arrested as well. He had been initially identified as a mastermind of the operation.

© 2010 AFP

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