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Gang caught in Marbella after 1.3m euro kidnap and extortion 

Four dangerous criminals, all French, were arrested during an early-morning raid in Marbella on suspicion of a million pound kidnap, extortion, attempted murder and robbery.

Police said two of the men, aged 45 and 57, struck up a friendship in prison where they were serving a long sentence for robbery and murder.

All four had previously shot at or wounded police officers, one of whom later died, and one had escaped from jail where he was a lifer.

The gang had held a wealthy French businessman hostage for nearly two months, during which he was forced to provide his bank details and purchase goods for his captors, mostly gold. In total, they gained 1.3 million euros before finally releasing him unharmed.

The man was kidnapped in May in southern France and was first taken to his home to collect credit cards, clothing and various computer devices. Then, using his own vehicle, he was driven to a house in Girona where he was kept chained in the basement.

Police said he was forced to reveal details of his passwords, open accounts abroad and make purchases on the internet.

The businessman was also kept in a house on the Costa de Sol and then in the Marbella town of San Pedro Alcántara.

Three of the men were arrested by members of the Special Forces and the fourth nearby. A fifth man was caught in Toulouse.

Officers seized 56 gold bars, each worth 10,000 euros, 440 gold coins, 90,000 euros, details of the kidnapping victim’s credit cards and bank accounts, computers, memory cards, phones, hard drives and printers. They also found evidence that more kidnappings and robberies were being planned.

Police say the investigation remains open.