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CRIME

Suspect held over spate of student rapes in Lyon

French police said a suspect was being held in custody in connection with a series of sexual assaults carried out at knife point against five female students in a Lyon neighborhood.

Suspect held over spate of student rapes in Lyon
Police arrest suspect in connection with a series of sexual assaults on students in Lyon. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

The suspect appeared before prosecutors on Sunday and authorities are awaiting the results of DNA tests in connection with the series of rapes in Lyon’s 8th arrondissement, regional newspaper Le Progres reported.

The attacks, that took place between October 2012 and February 2013, provoked widespread fear in the community and prompted university officials to warn 30,000 local students against going out alone at night.

“We ask you to be careful when you are going from one place to another. Please do not go out unaccompanied and stay vigilant. This especially concerns female students,” wrote Jacques Comby, President of the University Lyon III at the time.

The modus operandi of the attacker and the location ofthe attacks persuaded police that they were looking for one lone assailant. 

In each of five attacks, all of which occurred around midnight, the assailant threatened the victim with a knife or box cutter. Police said the hooded attacker cut some of the victims.

His victims were all believed to be in their twenties.

The last reported attack took place at the end of January 2013.

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CRIME

French police break-up fake Bordeaux wine ring

Police investigating drug-trafficking in south west France have broken up a counterfeit Bordeaux wine ring following an eight-month investigation.

French police break-up fake Bordeaux wine ring

Prosecutors said that 100 gendarmes were involved in an operation to arrest up to 20 suspects in seven départements after the fake wine scam was discovered when fake wine labels were discovered by officers investigating a drugs ring. 

During searches, a dozen vehicles and, “a large volume of wine” were seized, they added.

They estimated that several hundred thousand bottles of Spanish wine had been passed off as being from the Médoc wine region of France.

Investigations involving a dedicated police unit revealed “a large-scale fraud organised by the owner of a vineyard in the Médoc”, police said, who obtained wine via “Spanish contacts”, bottled it at night and put fake labels on the bottles.

The fake wines were then sold “by the pallet” in several areas via “a network of official and unofficial distributors made up of companies, pensioners and self-employed people”, according to prosecutors. 

Orders amounting to several thousand bottles were sent abroad, with customers believing they were buying Bordeaux chateau wines at bargain prices, prosecutors said, when the bottles really contained “low-end wines …. from remote areas”.

Three suspects, including someone described as the ‘main instigator’ appeared before an examining magistrate on Wednesday and was charged with a variety of offences linked to fraud.

A source close to the case told AFP that the counterfeiting targeted mid-range Médoc wines, which are easier to counterfeit than the grand crus. 

“If the facts are proven, we hope that the perpetrators will be heavily condemned because these practices harm the image of Bordeaux wines and the image of all those who work well and respect the rules,” reacted the Interprofessional Council of Bordeaux Wine contacted by AFP.

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