Thieves assault McDonald heir in Provence villa

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Geoffrey McDonald, a 60-year-old heir to the US fast-food chain fortune, was violently assaulted when thieves broke into his villa in Provence and snatched 300,000 euros, his lawyer said Monday.

The assailants broke into his house in the village of Eygalieres in southeastern France on the night of June 18, while the pensioner and his wife were out for the night, according to an official connected to the inquiry.

When the pair returned, they were assaulted by the thieves who robbed them of 300,000 to 400,000 euros' (370,000 to 490,000 dollars') worth of cash and jewels as well as their passports.

McDonald was violently beaten in the assault which left him "extremely shocked," according to his lawyer Gilles-Jean Portejoie.

The couple were to leave Eygalieres to return to the United States on Wednesday, he added.

Local judicial officials said it was the latest in a string of robberies targeting wealthy residents in the region.

© 2010 AFP

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