A cleaner who stole dozens of luxury watches worth at least £15,000 each belonging to Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has been jailed for 15 years.
The 46-year-old woman, who has not been named, was sentenced in a court in the country’s capital, Rabat, during an overnight session that stretched into Saturday morning.
Fourteen men, including gold merchants that she sold the watches to, were also convicted of involvement in the affair and jailed for at least four years.
One man was convicted of being the woman’s accomplice and was jailed for 15 years.
The palace worker is reported to have melted down most of the 36 stolen luxury watches, and stripped them of jewels, before selling the parts to merchants in Casablanca, Fez and Rabat.
She sold a small number of the stolen watches in tact, which were valued by prosecutors at at least £15,000 each, reports DW.
During the trial, the 14 men were also accused of trying to form a ‘criminal gang’ but told the judge they had no knowledge of the robberies.
One of the men accused used the money to buy golf cars worth up to £12,000 each and an apartment worth £20,000 in his sister’s name, reports Arabic women’s weekly magazine Sayidaty.net.
King Mohamed reportedly has a taste for luxury watches, as well as fancy cars, paintings and yachts.
He was pictured wearing a £920,000 ($1.2million) diamond-encrusted Patek Philippe watch in white gold in a September 2018 Instagram post.
Forbes magazine in 2014 classified the 56-year-old monarch as one of the world’s richest men with wealth estimated at more than $2.5 billion.
The conviction comes after 25 people went on trial for an alleged robbery of luxury watches and jewellery from a royal palace in Marrakesh this week.
‘This is extremely unusual that a robbery should take place at a royal palace,’ Moroccan writer and journalist Ali Lmrabet told Al Jazeera.
‘The last time it happened was about 40 years ago. Normally, anything to do with the security of the king is shrouded in security, so it must mean that someone near the king has authorised that this information be disclosed.’