PARIS (AFP) - The Saudi prince who fell victim to a spectacular armed raid in Paris, losing €250,000 (S$415,000) in the process, was the youngest son of the former King Fahd with something of a globetrotting playboy reputation, it emerged Tuesday.
Sources at Le Bourget airport, where the prince's private jet was waiting, and police sources told AFP the victim was Abdul Aziz Bin Fahd, the multi-millionaire son of King Fahd, who died in 2005.
The 41-year-old prince was the victim of a brazen heist on the Paris ring road on Sunday night when a gang of five to eight heavily armed bandits hijacked the lead car of his 10-car convoy and drove off with three aides.
The gang stole €250,000 and documents, but released the aides and later torched the prince's Mercedes and one of their own cars in a village north-east of Paris.
Investigators said on Tuesday the professionalism of the raid pointed to a possible inside job.
"They must have had accomplices to have been so well informed, that's clear," said one source close to the probe.
"They sure weren't amateurs," added this source, stressing: "They didn't choose that location by chance."
"There is no light and probably poor video surveillance there," the source added.
Investigators were impressed by the speed of the attack and the fact they knew exactly which car to hit.
"There aren't that many groups capable of such an attack. We know from the way they acted that they were more than small-time bandits - more so from than the amount of money they stole," said one investigator.
Meanwhile, considerable mystery continued to swirl around the heist, worthy of a Hollywood movie. For example, what was the nature of the documents taken?
Local daily Le Parisien said the documents taken in the attack were "sensitive" diplomatic documents but a police source told AFP on Monday this was not certain.
"They could be sensitive documents but they could equally well be unimportant," the source said.
But, as one of the detectives now on the investigation pointed out, "the robbers could just have taken the money".
The Saudi embassy in Paris has remained tight-lipped about the affair but put out a statement that was carried on the official news agency in Saudi Arabia, stressing the vehicle was "hired by a Saudi citizen" and was not an embassy car.
However, the embassy did acknowledge it had "helped the citizen until he left Paris".
A spokesman for the French foreign ministry, which earlier described the attack as "unacceptable", told AFP on Tuesday: "This is a miscellaneous news story, not a diplomatic affair. A police investigation is under way."
The prince was apparently already at the airport in Le Bourget, north of Paris, when the convoy was attacked. Despite the raid, he took off for an unknown destination.
Born April 16, 1973, he was made a minister without portfolio at the tender age of 25 and promoted to head up the office of the council of ministers only two years later.
In June 2011, he gave up his council of ministers post and lost his government status in April 2013.
In his business career, he has been linked to the Saudi Oger construction group, one of the largest companies in the Middle East founded by former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri.
In addition to two €500 notes and documents in Arabic, medication was found at the scene of the burnt-out cars.
A police source told AFP: "It seems that the delegation is more worried about the prince's medication in the car than the money stolen" - an indication of his wealth.