The suspects would have usurped the identity of the minister and his associates, when he was in foreign affairs, and managed to extort tens of millions of euros from rich personalities.
Armed with a mask and a novel cap, they pretended to be the minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, with rich personalities, extorting more than 50 million euros: seven suspects involved in this scam come from to be sent back to correctional services in Paris. These seven men, mainly from the Franco-Israeli milieu, will have to respond to varying degrees of" conspiracy ", "Organized gang scam" or "Taking the name of a third party", according to an order of Judges Clément Herbo and Aude Buresi dated August 30.
In the center of the gang: two well-known men of the French justice, Gilbert Chikli, 54 years old, and Anthony Lasarevitsch, 35 years old. The first is considered the inventor of the scams in "False transfer orders" (Fovi) or "False president", a process that has become classic in which criminals pose as business leaders in order to transfer large sums of money to their employees.
This Franco-Israeli, whose story inspired a film (I count on you), was sentenced in 2015 to seven years in prison in absentia and a million euros fine for defrauding several large companies, such as HSBC or Alstom. On the run, he was arrested in 2017 in Ukraine with Mr Lasarevitsch. After their extradition, the French investigators were quickly convinced to hold the brains of the band, given the expertise of voice, the exploitation of their correspondence and the sound of their parlors.
Mask of Albert II of Monaco
In the phones of the two suspects, who deny any responsibility in this case, they will even discover the beginnings of their next coup, the usurpation of the identity of Prince Albert II of Monaco, and the photo of a first attempt – inconclusive – Silicone mask representing it.
The so-called "Fake Le Drian" began in the summer of 2015, when the Ministry of Defense, then headed by the current foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, reported to the court that scammers were usurping the identity of the minister and employees at several embassies and business leaders.
Payment of ransoms for the release of hostages, financing of secret operation or fight against terrorism: the sharks advance various reasons to convince their interlocutors to pay without delay several million euros, against the promise of a subsequent reimbursement by France . At the time, the gang of thugs even tried a fake sale of four Tiger helicopters to Tunisia for 19 million euros, without success.
According to the investigators, more than 150 targets will be approached, including African heads of state, such as Ali Bongo, humanitarian associations such as Sidaction, or religious dignitaries such as Cardinal Barbarin.
Four identified victims
In the end, four identified victims will fall into the trap in 2016, in the first place the spiritual leader of Ismaili Shiite Muslims, Prince Karim al-Hussaini said Karim Aga Khan IV, to the colossal fortune. Convinced to have spoken on the phone with the French minister, the 79-year-old philanthropist ordered a transfer of EUR 20 million from his AKDN foundation in March 2016 to accounts in Poland, China and Japan. France. Three out of five payments will ultimately be blocked, but 8 million euros disappear in nature.
A month later, the investigation was entrusted to Parisian judges of instruction while the crooks multiplied all-out attempts, to trap one of the very first Turkish fortunes, Inan Kirac. The latter, believing that he was asked by the minister to ransom two journalists hostages in Syria, will pay more than $ 47 million in accounts in China and the Emirates in December 2016.
"My clients are satisfied that this case, which has given rise to extensive international investigations, leads to a trial and, I hope, to convictions", reacted to Agence France-Presse, Maître Delphine Meillet, lawyer of the French minister and four former collaborators.
In parallel with the upcoming trial, the judicial investigation is continuing to finally bring to light the whitening circuit.