Leaked report links British family murdered in Annecy to Saddam's millions

Newspaper claims possible connection between victims and dictator's missing fortune

Further details of last month’s brutal quadruple murder in the French Alps were revealed this weekend after a report was leaked to a French newspaper.

In a two-page special report, the respected French newspaper Le Monde revealed chilling, new details of the shooting of three members of a British-Iraqi family and a French cyclist near Lake Annecy on 5 September.

Le Monde also made a link between the al-Hilli family and the alleged missing fortune of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein.

The newspaper said that German intelligence “was believed” to have told French authorities of a possible connection between the al-Hilli family and the rumoured missing Saddam millions.

But the Saddam link was formally denied by French investigators today. The head of the murder investigation, Gendarmerie Colonel Benoit Vinnemann, said: “This is false. No intelligence service from any country has given us any information of this kind.”

The newspaper said that the Iraqi-born engineer, Saad al-Hilli, 50, had originally been shot and wounded while standing with his daughter  on a forest lay-by near the village of Chevaline. He ran to his car, trying but failing to pull seven years old Zainab with him.

As he reversed his BMW estate at high speed Mr al-Hilli ran over and dragged the wounded body of the local cyclist, Sylvain Hillier, 45, who had also been hit by the gunman’s first volley of shots.

In his panic, Mr al-Hilli backed violently into the steep forest side and his car stuck fast.

The killer, armed only with an obsolete 80 years old luger pistol, fired more shots through the car windows, killing Mr al-Hilli, his wife Iqbal, 47, and her mother Suhaila al-Allaf, 74.

He then finished off the cyclist, Mr Mollier and beat Zaina, aged 7, savagely with the handle of his gun.

The little girl failed to get back into her parents car, possibly because she had been wounded in the shoulder from the killer’s initial volley. She only survived because the gunman ran out of bullets.

Le Monde said that its information came from a provisional “synthesis” of the clues found at the murder scene and the recollections of eye-witnesses. This report, the newspaper said, had been dispatched recently to the national headquarters of the gendarmerie in Paris.

The sequence of events suggested a random attack by a deranged individual, rather than a “professional” killing.

The chief gendarmerie investigator and the Annecy prosecutor denied today that any such report to gendarmerie headquarters existed – but they did not contradict the main contents of the Le Monde story.

In an interview with The Independent last week, the Annecy prosecutor, Eric Maillaud expressed his frustration at some of the reporting on the murders, in both France and Britain. He said that he accepted that the problem arose because, under French law, the investigation was supposed to be secret.

In the absence of official information, leaks from the inquiry were sometimes accurate and sometimes false and sometimes taken out of context, he said. He was not allowed to comment on them all.

Today, Mr Maillaud, like Colonel Vinnemann, denied that any form of  provisional narrative or “synthesis” of the events of 5 September had been sent to gendarmerie headquarters. However, he did not deny the thrust of the Le Monde report.

The newspaper said that a “dynamic” of the murders had been recreated from forensic evidence and the accounts given by Zainab-al Hilli and Brett Martin, the British cyclist who discovered the massacre.

These included two scatterings of glass from the car windows, suggesting that the BMW had been fired upon in two different places a metre or so apart.

They also included – intriguingly – small pieces of the Luger P06 used by the gunman, a weapon  issued to the Swiss army in the 1920s and 1930s. How the gun came to be broken is unclear.

Officially, all lines of investigation – including a targeted assassination – remain open. However, the prosecutor, Mr Maillaud, told Le Monde, that  “the hypothesis of a lone and psychologically disturbed killer, is gaining ground.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before