The brother of a British man murdered in a shooting in the Alps has accused French authorities of trying to cover up the truth after police dismissed links to a contract killer gang.
Saad al-Hilli, 50, an engineer from Surrey, was murdered in 2012 with his wife, Iqbal, 47, and mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, during a shooting near Lake Annecy.
Mr al-Hilli’s brother, Zaid, was arrested on suspicion of ordering the murder, but later released without charge.
However the family, who are originally from Iraq, hoped police were making progress on the now more than eight-year-old case after links were made between Mr al-Hilli’s murder and a gang of contract killers.
Police believed the killing linked to a ‘plot’ to assassinate a hypnotist after discovering bullets which matched those found at the scene.
But French prosecutors have now dismissed those links.
Speaking to the Times, Mr al-Hilli has now hit out at investigators and says he suspects a cover-up by French authorities.
Saad al-Hilli (pictured), 50, an engineer from Surrey, was murdered in 2012 with his wife, Iqbal, 47, and mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, during a shooting near Lake Annecy
The three family members were gunned down inside their BMW estate car while on a family holiday in the Alps in France. Daughters Zeena, four, and Zainab, seven, survived the attack near Lake Annecy
He is also calling for the Met Police to get involved with the case.
Mr al-Hilli told the paper: ‘I always suspected a cover-up by authorities in who is involved. It wasn’t a random attack.
‘First they blamed it on me, despite the fact they had no evidence.
‘The initial investigation was careering off a cliff.’
Mr al-Hilli believes French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45, who was also killed in the shooting, may have been the target of a planned killing.
His comments come after detectives in Paris found Luger pistol ammunition at the home of a man arrested for a failed bid to shoot dead business coach and psychotherapist Marie-Hélène Dini.
The rounds, which fit the German-issue WWI and WWII pistol, are reportedly the same as the type used in the killing of Mr al-Hilli, his wife and mother-in-law while they were on a family holiday with their young daughters in September 2012.
The three family members, along with Mr Mollier, who worked in the nuclear industry, were killed in the attack. Their daughters Zeena, four, and Zainab, seven, survived.
Police say 7.65mm cartridges, like those used in the 2012 attack, were discovered at the property of a man arrested after hit men turned up outside 55-year-old Ms Dini’s home in the Parisian suburbs last year, The Mirror reported.
Detectives reportedly say they have matched Luger pistol bullets discovered at the scene of the Al-Hilli murder with those found at the home of a man arrested over the plot to kill business coach and psychotherapist Marie-Hélène Dini, 55, at her home in the Paris suburbs last summer
Saad al-Hilli, 50, with his wife Iqbal, 47, and one of their daughters
Early in the morning last July, following a phone call from a concerned neighbour, police descended on two black-clad and gloved men waiting inside a car with a silenced pistol outside Ms Dini’s home in Créteil.
They told officers they were DGSE, the equivalent to MI6, and claimed they were on an official mission to kill Ms Dini because of something to do with Mossad, the Israeli secret service.
But police say these were hit men who were paid £40,000 to have her killed.
Detectives have long hoped that the ammunition discovered at the al-Hilli murder scene would give them a lead.
Twenty-one rounds were fired from a Luger P06 pistol that day, most at point blank range into the family’s BMW estate car, with another seven bullets shot at the French cyclist Mr Mollier, who was gunned down near the vehicle.
The Al-Hillis’ four-year-old daughter, Zeena, hid under the legs of her dead mother in the rear foot-well for eight hours – even after the gendarmerie arrived at the scene.
Seven-year-old Zainab was shot through the shoulder and managed to stumble out in front of the car before collapsing.
Police probed if Iraqi-born Al-Hilli’s job as an engineer may have made him a target for the attack.
In 2013, his elder brother Zaid was arrested by Surrey police on suspicion of ordering the murder but was released without charge.
Since then the case has run cold. Mr al-Hilli told The Mirror last week that he was pleased to see progress in the case.
He told the Mirror: ‘I have always believed [the cyclist] Sylvain Mollier was the target, and it was an assassination that went badly wrong.
A forensic investigator points to evidence at the murder scene in the Alps in 2012
Ammunition for a Luger pistol (stock image) was discovered at the home of a man arrested in the Ms Dini case. The same type of 7.65mm ammunition with fits the gun was used to kill the Al-Hillis
‘I think there is no other explanation. I always believed there was a cover-up.’
However, the state prosecutor in Annecy appeared to rubbish links to the criminal gang earlier this week, saying ‘at present there is no link’.
At least nine men have been arrested over the plot to assassinate Ms Dini last summer.
They include retired police and intelligence officers who prosecutors say were working in private security and offering assassination services.
French media have reported that in their investigation of the attempt to kill Ms Dini, they have uncovered at least two other murders linked to the outfit.