French tycoon’s jet found packed with cocaine

A French bound jet seized in the Dominican Republic with almost 700 kg of cocaine on board belonged to renowned businessman Alain Afflelou, it has been revealed. The owner of an opticians empire was said to be “amazed” at the news.

French tycoon's jet found packed with cocaine
Alain Afflelou, pictured in Paris on September 20th, 2012. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP

Dominican customs officials found 680 kg of cocaine in 26 suitcases aboard the private Falcon jet owned by Afflelou.

"Alain heard the news last night, through the media, and he's amazed,” said his spokeswoman on Sunday.

The famed owner of an international chain of opticians bearing his name, had loaned the aircraft to the Lyon-based Transhelicopter Services company.

On March 22nd, four French nationals – as well as several local police officers and customs officers – were arrested in the Dominican Republic on suspicion of being part of a drug-trafficking network about to transport the cocaine to Versailles, close to Paris.

A lawyer for Afflelou claimed he would “take the necessary steps to establish what happened”, and that a letter “demanding an explanation” had been sent to the French leasing company, according to regional daily Ouest-France.

Afflelou caused controversy in France in December when he condemned the French government for engaging in a “trench warfare” against entrepreneurs and others “trying to succeed”.

Announcing that he was moving to Britain, Afflelou seemed to suggest France’s “unjust and confiscatory tax system” was leading the country down a path towards the bloody, anti-business recriminations of the 1789 Revolution.

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Paris police rescue handbag robber from river Seine

Paris police on Tuesday fished a man out of the Seine river, which he jumped into after he rammed a car into a Valentino store and robbed dozens of luxury handbags.

Paris police rescue handbag robber from river Seine

The 24-year-old suspect smashed into the store around 2am on the high-end Rue Saint-Honoré, a police source said.

He grabbed as many as 30 luxury handbags and other items before attempting to flee in the car.

The man then failed to stop when a police patrol gave chase after spotting him near the central Paris Opéra.

He abandoned the car on Place de la Concorde at the end of the Champs-Elysées, the police source said, before plunging into the nearby river Seine.

But river police quickly fished him out and placed him under arrest.

A source familiar with the case said that the “entirety” of the stolen items had been found.

A second source told AFP that “around 30” handbags – which Valentino lists on its website at between €1,000 and €3,000 – were found in his car.

The suspect now faces an investigation for charges including aggravated robbery and refusal to comply with police, Paris prosecutors said.