Three found guilty over 25 million franc heist in Swiss canton of Vaud

AFP - [email protected]
Three found guilty over 25 million franc heist in Swiss canton of Vaud
A picture taken on February 13th, 2018 in front of the entrance of Lyon police headquarters after arrests following a heist in Switzerland. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AFP)

A French court found three men guilty on Wednesday over the armed robbery of a cash truck in Vaud, Switzerland in 2018 which netted thieves an estimated 25 million Swiss francs.


A criminal court in Lyon sentenced a 40-year-old man named as Mehdi A. to 16 years in prison in absentia, concluding he was the ringleader behind the heist in the Vaud canton near the French border.

A second man, 32-year-old Yusuf K., a passenger in the cash van at the time of the attack, was sentenced to six years in prison for complicity and providing information to the heavily armed robbers.

The trial, which started on March 29th, heard how the gang had been plotting the attack for more than a year at a time when thieves from the Lyon area were
regularly preying on cash vans in the area.

Investigators believe at least three killings have taken place in the city's criminal underworld linked to the hold-up and they admitted before the trial that "areas of shade" remain over exactly who was involved.



The hold-up took place in February 2018 and began with several members of the gang kidnapping the then 22-year-old daughter of the cash truck driver after posing as plumbers in order to enter her home.

She was bound, gagged and smuggled out in a rubbish bin before being driven to an unknown location outside of Lyon in the back of a van.

"I was terrified. My survival instinct told me to do whatever they asked of me," she told the court last Friday, adding that she was still recovering from her ordeal and the psychological consequences.

She was told to call her father while he was en route to a cash delivery to the Swiss city of Lausanne, telling him that he should drive to a meeting point with other members of the gang on a remote rural sideroad near the village of Chavornay.

Once there a team, wearing balaclavas and gloves and armed with automatic weapons, ordered the driver and his colleague to open up the contents of the
truck which were transferred to a Porsche SUV.

The cash truck was set on fire. Neither the driver, nor his colleague were hurt, while the daughter was later found unharmed on the outskirts of Lyon.   

"I don't know many robbers who spend 17 months preparing their operation," a Swiss policeman told the court, detailing secret talks that took place at a luxury car dealership in Geneva. "The time they spent on it was enormous."

Briefcase breakthrough

Prosecutors concluded that the passenger in the cash truck, Yusuf K., had given inside information to the robbers including the address of his colleague's daughter and the location of the van at the time of the attack.

He denied any wrong-doing, but admitted to hiding a box containing 605,000 Swiss francs which was left at the scene of the heist -- which investigators believe was his payment.

Ringleader Mehdi A. flew to Thailand shortly after the heist but was arrested and jailed in Tunisia in December 2022 over fake documents.

France is expected to ask for his extradition.


The third man found guilty on Wednesday, 48-year-old Pascal G., admitted to storing briefcases in his garage belonging to the ringleader, but denied knowing what was inside.

They contained an estimated 2.5 million Swiss francs and valuable DNA evidence that helped investigators prepare their case.

The rest of the stolen money has never been recovered.   

A fourth man on trial was acquitted on Wednesday and a verdict was not announced for a fifth defendant due to his health problems.

Swiss authorities have also convicted two people over the robbery.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also