Man held over Alps shootings released

The brother of a British engineer who was shot dead in the French Alps has been released from police bail.

Man held over Alps shootings released

The brother of a British engineer who was shot dead in the French Alps has been released from police bail.

Zaid al-Hilli, who was accused of orchestrating the shooting of his brother Saad al-Hilli and his wife and mother-in-law, has had his bail cancelled because there is not enough evidence to charge him with a crime.

Surrey Police did not name the 54-year-old, but said in a statement today that a man arrested in September 2012 over the deaths, and the murder of a French cyclist, would face no further police action.

The force said: “A man arrested by detectives investigating the deaths of four people near Annecy, southern France, in September 2012 has today had his bail cancelled.

“The 54-year-old man, from Chessington, was arrested on 24 June 2013 on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder and interviewed as part of the ongoing investigation.

“At this stage there is insufficient evidence to charge him with any criminal offence and no further police action is being taken at this time.”

Saad al-Hilli and his wife Ikbal, who were from Claygate in Surrey, and her mother Suhaila al-Allaf, who lived in Sweden, were all fatally shot on a remote forest road in Chevaline on September 5 2012.

Local cyclist Sylvain Mollier was also murdered.

The horrific scene was discovered by cyclist Brett Martin, who found Iraqi-born Mr Al-Hilli, 50, his 47-year-old dentist wife and her elderly mother blasted to death in their BMW.

The al-Hilli’s first-born daughter Zainab was shot in the shoulder and beaten, but survived. Her four-year-old sister Zeena lay hidden under her mother’s body and was only discovered eight hours after the murders.

In October, Zaid al-Hilli, from Chessington in Surrey, publicly protested his innocence and offered to take a lie-detector test to verify his own account.

Speaking to the BBC’s Panorama programme, he accused French investigators of a cover-up.

He said: ”They are covering up for someone in France in that region and they know it. Sylvain Mollier was involved in family disputes and was an outsider to (his) rich family. There is something more to it locally – most crime has local roots.”

The following month French investigators said they were looking for a mystery motorcyclist who was seen near the crime scene.

One lead in tracing the man was that he was wearing an unusual helmet, only a few thousand of which had been made.

The al-Hilli brothers were alleged to have been locked in an inheritance dispute centred on the £825,000 home in Claygate where Saad and his family lived after their mother died from a heart attack in 2003.

Zaid, who inherited half the property, claimed that in 2011 his brother began to demand his share of the house ”there and then” and pinned him down during a row.

The two men never spoke again except through lawyers, but Zaid denied rumours that he had threatened to kill his brother.

He said he knew little about a Swiss bank account containing the proceeds from their father’s business in Iraq and would not comment on claims that he attempted to access it using an expired card or tried to fake their father’s will.

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