German police arrest suspected poker heist mastermind
Mon, Mar 22, 2010

BERLIN, March 22, 2010 (AFP) - German police said Monday they had arrested the alleged mastermind behind a spectacular armed raid earlier this month on a high-stakes poker tournament at one of Berlin's swankiest hotels.

The 28-year-old Lebanese man was seized on Sunday night, police said.

"According to the current state of our investigation, the suspect is thought to have been the organiser and brains behind the operation. He also drove the getaway car," a black Mercedes-Benz, Berlin police said in a statement.

Investigators are still searching for the 242,000 euros (S$458,000) in cash snatched in the brazen, daylight raid, likened in some media to the Hollywood blockbuster "Ocean's 11."

On March 6, a masked gang of four wielding handguns and machetes burst into the Hyatt hotel near Berlin's Potsdamer Platz and made off with bags of cash in the ensuing chaos, which was captured on dramatic TV pictures.

Police have since gradually reeled in all the gang members.

The tournament, the German leg of the European Poker Tour, attracted around 950 participants including German tennis legend Boris Becker with 4.7 million euros in prize money up for grabs.

The game continued after the raid, with the one-million euro top prize eventually won by American online poker star Kevin "ImaLuckSac" MacPhee.



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