Albert Spaggiari

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Albert Spaggiari
Born (1932-12-14)December 14, 1932
Laragne-Montéglin, Hautes-Alpes, France
Died June 8, 1989(1989-06-08) (aged 56)
Piedmont, Italy
Occupation Photographer
Criminal charge
Bank robbery
Criminal penalty
Life imprisonment (in absentia)
Criminal status Deceased

Albert Spaggiari (December 14, 1932 – June 8, 1989), nicknamed Bert, was a French criminal chiefly known as the organizer of a break-in into a Société Générale bank in Nice, France in 1976.

Earlier life[edit]

Spaggiari was born in Laragne-Montéglin in the Hautes-Alpes département. He grew up in Hyères, where his mother had a lingerie store.


Life in hiding[edit]

Spaggiari remained free for the rest of his life. He was sentenced in absentia to a life in prison. Reportedly he underwent plastic surgery and spent probably most of the rest of his life in Argentina. However, it is reported that Spaggiari came several times clandestinely to France, visiting his mother or his wife "Audi". For the publishing of his last book Le journal d'une truffe he gave an interview to Bernard Pivot for the TV program Apostrophes that was reportedly recorded in Milan, Italy.

According to a CIA document declassified in 2000 and publicised by the National Security Archive, Michael Townley, the DINA international agent responsible for the murder of Orlando Letelier, a member of Salvador Allende's government, in Washington DC, 1976, was in contact with Spaggiari. Information contained in the document suggests that Spaggiari (code name "Daniel") conducted operations on behalf of DINA. [1] [2] [3]

Spaggiari was said to have died under "mysterious circumstances". The press reported that his body was found by his mother in front of her home on June 10, 1989, having been carried back to France by unknown friends. However it now seems well established that his wife Emilia was with him when he died of throat cancer on June 8, 1989, in a country house in Belluno, Italy. She drove the corpse from Italy to Hyères and lied to the police (it being a criminal offence to carry a corpse).

Remains of the loot from the heist have never been found.


  • Faut pas rire avec les barbares (1977)
  • Les égouts du paradis (1978)
  • Le journal d'une truffe (1983)

Popular culture[edit]

French authors René Louis Maurice and Jean-Claude Simoën wrote the book Cinq Milliards au bout de l'égout (1977) about Spaggiari's bank heist in Nice. Their work was translated from the French into the English in 1978 by the British author Ken Follett under the title The Heist of the Century; it was also published as The Gentleman of 16 July and Under the Streets of Nice. Follett was outraged when some publishers brought it out as a new Ken Follett book, while it was, in fact, little more than a rushed-through translation.[1]

Three movies were produced which were also based on the Nice bank robbery:

The Canadian television series Masterminds produced and transmitted an episode titled "The Riviera Job," reenacting the story of the robbery.[2]

A Czech movie, Prachy dělaj člověka, contains a reference to the heist, suggesting that one of the characters participated in it.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ken Follett | Bibliography | The Heist
  2. ^ Rothery, C. (Producer). (2003). Masterminds [Television series]. "The Riviera Job." Season 1 Episode 15. Canada. Video on YouTube. Retrieved 2011-06-18.

External links[edit]