In September 2016, business and beauty mogul Kim Kardashian landed in Paris and checked into Hôtel de Pourtalès with her then-husband, Kanye West. “Parisian Vibes,” read her first Instagram post from the capital city, announcing her arrival to her followers.
Out of the 14 Instagram photos that followed, the SKIMS founder was seen posing with precious jewellery in her mouth and a 20-karat-diamond ring on her finger, which West had reportedly purchased from Lorraine Schwartz Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, New York for around $4 million. At the time, Kardashian signed the post without words, and only three diamond emojis.
During the early hours of 3 October, five men gained entry to Kardashian’s hotel room by posing as cops and robbed $10 million worth of jewellery from the reality TV star at gunpoint. Kardashian was then reportedly bound and gagged, and placed in a bathtub. More than five years later, judges indicted 12 people in connection with the incident—all aged between 60 and 72, earning them the nickname ‘grandpa gangsters’.
Now, in a recent interview with Vice, one of the masterminds behind the robbery has spoken out—blaming Kardashian for the crime by stating that she “should be a little less showy.”
“I went on the internet and it’s true—I saw her jewellery, I saw her ring, I saw that she showed it everywhere and we knew this information through social media,” Yunis Abbas, who was released from prison after 22 months for heart-related health issues, told the publication. Abbas went on to recount the incident and claimed that “Kardashian’s secretary called for help” but dialled 911 despite being in France. He further highlighted how he was traced because of the DNA he left while overpowering a guard.
“I knew her husband, Kanye West, but I didn’t know her,” Abbas continued. “But I saw one of her shows where she threw her diamond in the pool. In that episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I thought, ‘She’s got a lot of money. This lady doesn’t care at all’.”
When asked if he feels guilty about what happened, Abbas said: “Since she was throwing money away, I was there to collect it, and that was that. Guilty? No, I don’t care.” In terms of celebrities and influencers posting their precious belongings on social media, he further mentioned: “They should be a little less showy towards people who can’t afford it. For some people, it’s provocative.”
To date, Kardashian has repeatedly spoken about the traumatising incident, admitting that the life-changing ordeal has left her fearful and constantly anxious. Appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2017, the mogul recalled the exact moment the robbers burst into her apartment.
“Automatically, your stomach drops. It’s a feeling you can’t even explain. I knew that was it for me. I said a prayer, like, ‘I know I’m going to heaven. I hope my kids are okay, and my husband’,” she said. “But it does happen really fast. It was a good seven or eight minutes of torture, but when I look back and I analyse it, I’m like, ‘Okay, they weren’t aggressive.’ It could have been way worse, so I don’t want to sound like I’m not grateful. I’m out, I’m home, I’m safe, I’m such a better person—it’s okay. Let’s move on.”
“You don’t come out of it unscathed,” Abbas acknowledged when asked about the incident leaving the reality TV star rattled, adding, “We didn’t expect this. Of course, she must have been traumatised. I don’t doubt it.”
According to French media, Abbas has been in and out of jail for various crimes in the past and allegedly robbed the mogul because he was “short on cash.” He has also written about the heist in his memoir called I Kidnapped Kim Kardashian.
Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage, better known by his stage name Joe Exotic, is an American (former) zoo operator now turned convicted felon who became infamous after the release of Netflix’s Tiger King documentary, which focused on the 57-year-old and his archenemy, Carole Baskin. What fewer people might be aware of is that Exotic is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence after being convicted of plotting a murder-for-hire against Big Cat Rescue owner Baskin, among other charges.
Since March 2020, he has been incarcerated at FMC Fort Worth in Texas and by June 2020, Baskin received control of Exotic’s zoo property. Now, as if this story wasn’t crazy enough, Exotic is hoping that Kim Kardashian West will help get him out from behind bars. In a new handwritten letter obtained by ET, the Tiger King star writes to the reality star and criminal justice reform activist, asking for her help in getting a presidential pardon from President Donald Trump.
The letter reads, “I know you have never met me and may never want to however I do believe that you hold the values of our justice system dear to your heart,” Joe writes in the letter dated Nov. 4. “I am writing you this letter not as Joe Exotic but as the person Joseph Maldonado-Passage, asking you to please help me by just taking 10 minutes out of your life and placing a call to President Trump to look at my 257 page pardon it’s all the evidence I’m innocent and ask him to sign my pardon so I can return home to [my husband] Dillon and my father.”
Exotic adds, “I have lost 57 years of work, my zoo, my animals, my mother has died, my dad is dying and I’ve been taken away from my husband who I love dearly. Everyone is so busy making movies, getting interviews, selling stuff and dressing up like me that everyone forgot I’m a real live person in prison and kept from even telling my own story for something I didn’t do.”
Towards the end of the letter, he explains to Kardashian that “No one even has to know you did it.”
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Ironically, Kardashian has already shown that she is a big Tiger King fan. Back in October, the mother of four and her friend, Jonathan Cheban, dressed up as Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic for Halloween with her kids as tigers. She also expressed an interest in the series back in March, tweeting, “Wow the amount of texts I’ve gotten about Tiger King since I tweeted about it all have mentioned their belief that Carol killed her husband! What are your thoughts? Do you think Carol killed him?”
So far, it hasn’t been precised whether the celebrity intends to help Exotic out. But in the meantime, Baskin’s Big Cat Rescue has offered to have Kardashian come visit their sanctuary, which she hasn’t responded publicly to either.