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James Stunt’s former bodyguard stole 16-carat yellow diamond worth £515,000 from tycoon, court hears

James Stunt’s former bodyguard stole a 16-carat yellow diamond worth £515,000 from a safe during a £20million raid on the tycoon’s Belgravia mansion, a court heard.

Justinas Ivaskevicius, 34, allegedly swiped the rock at some point between 12 and 15 December 2017.

Police attended the address to find no forced entry and interviewed Mr Stunt’s entourage of butlers and bodyguards after he reported a quantity of gold bars and diamond jewellery had gone missing.

Stunt, 38, who was married to Formula 1 heiress Ms Ecclestone, 31, from 2011 to 2017, made his fortune as a gold dealer and art collector.

James Stunt, pictured in 2018, is the alleged victim in a theft charge after a £515,000 diamond was stolen from his home in Belgravia, Westminster between 12 and 15 December 2017

The socialite couple had three children together before divorcing in a £5.5 billion settlement in October 2017.

Ivaskevicius allegedly sold the enormous sparkler on using the fake name ‘Tomas Cowal’ before it reached the Geological Institute of America (GIA) who identified it as stolen.

Detectives from Met Police’s Flying Squad arrested him in Chesterton, Cambridge on Wednesday.

Lithuanian dual national Ivaskevicius appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today via video-link from custody wearing a grey prison tracksuit.

He is charged with theft from the person and possessing criminal property and indicated not guilty pleas.

Prosecutor Malachy Pakenham said: ‘There was a report of a burglary that had taken place some time between 13 and 14 December 2017.

‘The victim is James Stunt, he describes himself as a multi-billionaire businessman. He’s a man of means and he reported the burglary.

‘He said items were stolen, quantities of diamonds, diamond rings, gold and gold bars. Initially he thought the value could be £50 – 90 million. However, police think it’s nearer to £20 million. 

‘Police started an operation because of the high values of the alleged items taken. They examined the address and made CCTV and telephone enquiries.

‘They spoke to his staff, bodyguards, visitors, anyone who had any connections with the victim. The victim employs a large number of people including butlers, bodyguards, cleaners and has at least five members in his security team.

Justinas Ivaskivicius, 34, is accused of taking the gem from the home, above, of Petra Ecclestone's ex-husband. Met Police's detectives arrested him on Wednesday

Justinas Ivaskivicius, 34, is accused of taking the gem from the home, above, of Petra Ecclestone’s ex-husband. Met Police’s detectives arrested him on Wednesday

‘They were all interviewed and police reached conclusion there was no evidence of break in. They were stolen from a safe on the ground floor. Two people have access to the safe. There was no evidence of forced entry to the safe.

‘The sole safe key was kept in a vehicle and the keys to the vehicle were kept in a communal area in his abode there was no evidence linking anyone at the initial enquiry.

‘The investigation continues and statements were taken from a jeweller in Bond Street who confirmed the sale of a number of pieces of high value jewellery which police found belonged to the victim.

‘One 16.18 carat, what’s described as fancy yellow rectangular corner cut diamond. The diamond has a reference number and has a certificate as diamonds do. The value of that item was some £515,000.

‘Items of jewellery were circulated and the Geological Institute of America (GIA) were informed of stolen items.

‘We then move on to 10 May 2018. The GIA received a 16.8carat diamond and they looked at it, authenticated it, and the diamond had been supplied to the GIA via a gem lab in Antwerp in Belgium. The certificate was linked to the diamond.’

Mr Pakenham said Ivaskevicius was employed by the victim as a bodyguard.

‘He has a Lithuanian passport and a British passport. He’s a dual national,’ the prosecutor added.

District Judge Angus Hamilton remanded Ivaskevicius into custody and told him: ‘The allegations you face need to be dealt with in the Crown Court.

‘Southwark Crown Court will take over the management of this case.’ 

Ivaskevicius, of Fallowfield, Cambridge, is charged with theft from the person and possessing criminal property.

He will next appear for a further hearing at Southwark Crown Court on 26 June.         


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