Five jailed over failed £50m Chasseuil wine heist

Five men have been jailed for their part in a failed attempt to break into the wine cellar of famed collector Michel-Jack Chasseuil, who was threatened with a Kalashnikov rifle and had his fingers broken during the terrifying ordeal in 2014.

Michel-Jack Chasseuil

The thieves broke into Chasseuil’s home in June of 2014, with the attackers gaining entry after on of their number disguise themselves as a delivery man.

Upon opening the door, Chasseuil was ambushed by three masked men brandishing a Kalashnikov rifle.

The now 75-year-old was held hostage for two hours, during which time he was threatened with screwdriver and a butcher’s knife and had a finger broken.

However the men were unable to break into the cellar, located in an underground bunker and protected by armoured doors, with the key locked in a bank safe.

Eventually, the thieves fled with eight cases of “second-rate” wine.

Chasseuil’s cellar at his home in La Chapelle-Bâton, in western France, is known to be one of the largest and finest wine and spirit collections in the world.

The collection numbers some 40,000 bottles, which includes Yquem, Pétrus and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, with the vast collection said to be worth around £50 million.

Five men, aged between 25 and 38, from the Lille area of France, have this week been jailed for their part in the raid, for between five and 18 months.

Only one of the thieves – the man who pretended to be the delivery driver – admitted to his role in the raid, as reported by the Daily Mail.

Chasseuil said of the men: “I forgive but I don’t excuse what they have done”.

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