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19 face trial in $50-million diamond heist

A Belgium news agency says 16 men and three women will stand trial in connection with a brazen $50-million diamond heist at Brussels Airport in 2013.

According to Belga, nine people have been charged for being directly involved with the robbery. The other 10 suspects face charges related to hiding the diamonds, while six of them also face money-laundering charges in Belgium, Switzerland, and Morocco.

Police estimate swiping the diamonds took all of five minutes, after eight robbers dressed in dark police clothing and brandishing machine guns burst through a perimeter fence in two cars with flashing police lights. It is alleged they drove onto the tarmac and removed 120 parcels of rough and polished diamonds from a plane bound for Zurich.

Following the robbery, police carried out a series of raids in France, Switzerland, and Belgium, arresting 31 people in connection with the incident. Investigators recovered money in Belgium and diamonds in Switzerland, although no amounts were specified.

The news agency did not say when the trial would start.

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