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Armed Robbery and Digital Blackmail – Courts Respond With Stiff Jail Terms and Fines

Armed Robbery in Monte Carlo Rewarded With Handcuffs and Years in Jail

Calm, suave, dapper, exuding a genteel air by all reports, the 46 year old handcuffed Serbian faced justice in the dock. Cold, steely, a ruthless determined armed robber? Accomplice of the mafia? These are the questions before the court. And the use of a Beretta with silencer. To what extent did he use this deadly firearm to cause fear. Did he aggressively point it at the personnel and sales-lady in Graff to make her hand over the 4.6 million in jewellery? The sales-lady was forced to accompany him on his escape. To what degree was she a hostage at the point of a deadly weapon – a Beretta with a silencer, no less. How much trauma, how much fear did he deliberately provoke during the robbery and attempted escape with the sales-lady as a shield?

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The facts of the robbery were undisputed. At stake for the robber was a potential life-sentence depending on the degree of wilful involvement with organized crime and wilful and aggressive use of the firearm. So what happened? A few days before Christmas, in 2016, late in the afternoon the Serbian entered Graff jewellers in the Casino of Monte-Carlo in the guise of a well-dressed gentleman. He asked to be shown a necklace and ring – then showing his gun and tossing the sales-lady a black purse, he had her fill it with a haul of the beautiful jewellery on display. Then he reportedly forced her to exit with him down the pedestrian street winding toward Buddha Bar and the Fairmont. At that point he ditches her and tries to make his escape in a taxi. Immediately encircled by police alerted by Graff, he is apprehended and arrested. All is over in minutes. The 4.6 million in jewellery are recovered intact at the point of arrest.

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The robber is a civil engineer by profession, in financial crisis and indebted with suspicious loans – loans to the underworld is another question and part of the puzzle. The gun is purchased for 5000 euros and there are false identity papers. Where did the money come from to buy the gun? From organized criminals in the Balkans? The robbery is admitted. Aggression with the gun reportedly denied. He was sporting a deadly weapon just for his own self-defence – would the court buy that argument? Obviously not by the sentence brought down of eight years imprisonment.

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And no matter how much eventual discount of the Monaco jail sentence, the Serbian also faces potential deportation to Austria. Why? Yet another armed robbery in Vienna the prior summer. The loot this time valued around a million euros.

Justice done. The severe sentence signals the Court leaned towards aggravated criminality. A deadly weapon and suspicions of organized crime involvement rewarded with years in a cell. The Serbian also likely awaits further incarceration in Austria once he ends his sentence for the Monaco crime.

“Help, Help, I’m being Blackmailed “

Expert blackmail? Photos of infidelity? No – this is the digital age and there are new forms of blackmail afoot. Digital blackmail is effective and simple for those with strong computer skills. Pay lots of money or suffer! But suffer how? Nowadays our lives depend on computers, networks and the internet. So if the “digital bad guys” can hack in and block a company’s IT infrastructure then the company can’t get its vital work done. It can’t get at the information it needs. It can’t service its customers, suppliers or employees.

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A medical professional had computerized his office and linked everything he could digitally, launching himself into this new futuristic world. He had used an outside IT consultant to do the work and had made a substantial part payment, about 60% on a 50.000 euro plus IT services invoice.

There were bugs in the system apparently and the medic wanted to pay the amount remaining due, on ensuring the system was operating bug-free. Cleverly, was the question before the court, the IT expert had inserted an algorithm in the system that blocked everything until his bill was paid.

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The medic felt blackmailed and paid other IT consultants to come in and free-up his system. So the case before the court eventually settled on a civil suit. The medic demanded reimbursement of expenses for the fix and associated damages while the system was down. In the region of 30.000 euros claimed, the court ruled in favour but pared the settlement down well below 10.000 euros. Digital blackmail – it’s a new age question! And the Courts will be challenged to find answers.

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