Le Drian case: Fraudsters who wore mask of French minister jailed

Le Drian case: Fraudsters who wore mask of French minister jailed

BBC·2020-03-12 01:22

AFP

Gilbert Chikli (r) and Anthony Lasarevitsch denied the charges

Two men who impersonated a French minister to trick wealthy people out of more than €55m (£48m) have been jailed by a court in Paris.

Franco-Israelis Gilbert Chikli and Anthony Lasarevitsch conned their victims by impersonating Jean-Yves Le Drian, often wearing a silicone mask.

They denied fraud and usurping Mr Le Drian's identity but were found guilty.

Chikli was jailed for 11 years and fined €2m while Lasarevitsch received a seven-year sentence and a fine of €1m.

As the sentence was handed down, Chikli shouted: "It's a scandal. You should be ashamed."

The court was told that the Aga Khan - spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims - and Turkish business tycoon Inan Kirac both fell victim to the scam, which took place in 2015 and 2016.

Prosecutors said that in meetings arranged on Skype, one of the fraudsters would wear a custom-made Le Drian mask and sit in a facsimile of Mr Le Drian's ministerial office, complete with flags and a portrait of then-President François Hollande.

Getty Images

The real Jean-Yves Le Drian is on the left, while the fake Le Drian sits behind a desk in a makeshift office

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