Wednesday 21 March 2018

Brother of Alps massacre victim Saad Al-Hilli released on bail

Saad al-Hilli, pictured, his wife Iqbal and her mother Suhaila al-Allaf were shot dead at a beauty spot near Lake Annecy, France, last year
Saad al-Hilli, pictured, his wife Iqbal and her mother Suhaila al-Allaf were shot dead at a beauty spot near Lake Annecy, France, last year

Hayley Dixon

The brother of Alps massacre victim Saad Al-Hilli has been released on police bail after being questioned over the murders.

 Zaid Al-Hilli, 54, was questioned overnight over the deaths of the British engineer, his wife Ikbal, her mother Suhaila al-Allaf and French cyclist Sylvain Mollier.

He was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder after officers uncovered evidence to suggest he doctored documents to ensure he inherited the estate.

He has previously denied any feud with his sibling over an inheritance or involvement in the killings.

The police announced that he had had been bailed until the end of next month less than an hour after they reached the deadline in which they had to charge him, release him, or apply for further time.

"The 54-year-old man who was arrested yesterday on suspicion of conspiracy to murder has tonight been released on bail until July 31 pending further inquiries," said a spokesman.

The arrest at 7.30am yesterday morning has been the first significant development in the inquiry following the attack on a remote mountain road close to lake Annecy on September 5.

The Al-Hillis' seven-year-old daughter Zainab was pistol-whipped in the attack and shot in the shoulder but survived, along with her sister Zeena, who hid under her mother's skirt in the back of the family's BMW.

Detectives yesterday searched Zaid's home in Chessington, Surrey, and were seen leaving the property with a plastic box, a ladder and two bags.

Eric Maillaud, Annecy's public prosecutor, said police were trying to establish any link between the alleged fraud and the brutal attack. Mr Maillaud said detectives were aware of the allegedly false documents from an early stage in the investigation.

Around 100 police officers in Britain and France have been tasked with investigating the killings.

French investigators travelled to the UK last year to search the al-Hilli family home in Claygate, Surrey.

Their inquiry has focused on three lines of inquiry: Mr Al-Hilli's work, links to his native Iraq and his family.

Reports of a dispute between the brothers emerged soon after the massacre and led Hilli to approach police to deny any suggestion of an argument over the will.

Their Iraqi father Kadhim Al-Hilli died in Spain two years ago, leaving several properties and £800,000 in a Geneva bank account. Saad hired lawyers to block Kadhim's will until "unknown" disputes had been resolved, according to legal papers.

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News