British soldier is accused of tying up an Italian couple in their Bali home and stealing £300,000
A serving British soldier has been arrested and charged with kidnapping and theft after allegedly tying up and holding a knife on an Italian couple on the island paradise of Bali.
Greg Simpson, 36, an army reservist who toured Afghanistan as a member of the London Regiment, is said to have been part of a four-member gang that stole 5.8 billion Indonesian rupiahs, the equivalent of £300,000, in the raid.
A former colleague said he went to Bali after being disciplined by his unit for making racist comments during the army’s 2020 Operation Rescript, their domestic response to the Covid 19 pandemic.
“He had become obsessed with conspiracy theories and far-right politics,” the former colleague said. “I knew he was going to get himself in trouble, but being accused of premeditated theft is quite a surprise.”
Indonesian authorities arrested Simpson and alleged accomplice Nicola Disanto, 34, shortly after the robbery last November, but are still looking for the other two gang members.
Greg Simpson, 36, an army reservist who toured Afghanistan as a member of the London Regiment, is said to have been part of a four-member gang that stole 5.8 billion Indonesian rupiahs, the equivalent of £300,000 in the raid.
It is alleged that they broke into a vacation home on the Villa Seminyak Estate and Spa complex in Seminyak, which was rented by Italian couple Principe Nerini, 40, and his wife Camilla Guadagnuolo, 30.
According to a local police chief, the four men were dressed in all black, covering their faces with scarves and wearing gloves to hide their identities during the attack at 3 a.m. on November 11 last year.
It is alleged that Mr Nerini was held with a knife and bound hands and feet before being beaten and locked in a bedroom.
The head of the Denpasar Police Resort, Commissioner Jansen Avitus Panjaitan, told a news conference that the attackers then took six cell phones and forced Mr Nerini to hand over passwords for his bitcoin accounts.
During the robbery, Ms Guadagnuolo returned to the villa and was subsequently detained and threatened by the robbers.
After the robbery was completed, the four assailants fled.
Indonesian authorities arrested Simpson (center right) and alleged accomplice Nicola Disanto, 34, (center left) shortly after the robbery last November, but are still looking for the other two gang members
After freeing themselves, the pair checked their bitcoin account balance to discover that IDR 5.8 billion (£300,000) had been transferred in three transactions to an account owned by one of the alleged attackers, Disanto.
Commissioner Jansen, who said all four suspects were foreigners, also revealed that Disanto was a former employee of an export company of the victims.
Simpson and Disanto were both arrested less than 24 hours after the incident.
Police said they seized two knives, a jacket, trousers and money as evidence during the arrest.
If convicted on charges including theft, incarceration and threats, the men face up to nine years in prison.
According to a local police chief, the four men were dressed in all black, covering their faces with scarves and wearing gloves to hide their identities during the attack at 3 a.m. on November 11 last year. Pictured: Simpson
One of Simpson’s former army colleagues said he went to Bali last year after being disciplined by his unit for making racist remarks in London when the army helped set up Covid test sites.
“Over the past ten years, he has delved deeper and deeper into conspiracy theories and far-right politics,” said the former colleague.
‘He heard talking in a minibus about his belief that certain ethnic groups are less intelligent.
“Before that, he was formally disciplined and his salary and rank reduced.
“He wasn’t always like that, but around 2010 there was a definite change in him. He started to spend too much time on the internet.
“He became obsessed with bizarre conspiracy theories and David Icke and then became increasingly anti-Semitic, talking a lot about Jewish Freemasons and Jewish control.”
An army spokesman said: “We are aware of an incident in Bali that occurred on November 12, 2021. As the matter is currently the subject of an ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
They said they could not release information about the disciplinary hearing because it was an administrative matter covered by the Data Protection Act.
According to a former colleague, Simpson toured Afghanistan in 2007 and was part of a UN mission to Cyprus in 2014.
On his Facebook page is a photo of himself wearing a belt with a ‘Black Sun’ buckle, a symbol beloved by neo-Nazis and part of the paraphernalia of Christchurch mosque killer Brenton Tarrant who murdered 51 worshipers in 2019.
Other photos show him on an armed patrol in Afghanistan and wearing a khaki pith helmet. His likes include a page called ‘British Nationalism’.
Obviously, his family is spread across the UK, US and South Africa.
‘His mother has passed away,’ said the former colleague, ‘and his father lives in the United States. I know he has a brother and two sisters and at least one of them still lives in Britain.’