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Fake Paris attacks victim arrested for compensation claim

French police on Tuesday arrested a woman who claimed 25,000 euros in compensation after posing as a victim of the 2015 Paris terror attacks.

Fake Paris attacks victim arrested for compensation claim
Photo: AFP
The 48-year-old from Val-de-Marne in the southern Paris suburbs even held a paid job at a charity for victims of the gun and bomb attacks in which Islamic State jihadists murdered 130 people.
   
The woman, who claimed to be at the Bataclan music venue where the attackers killed 90 concert goers, had already been found guilty of fraud on three different occasions.
   
She has admitted the latest scam and will appear in court on Wednesday, prosecutors said, adding she accepted a total of 25,000 euros ($31,000) in compensation.
   
The FGTI state compensation fund for terror victims confirmed the payment, adding it intends to take the woman to court.
   
She had also been working for victims' group Life For Paris as a paid staff member since last March after first volunteering.
   
The group's chief Arthur Denouveaux said the woman's name had been on prosecutors' official list of victims, and that it was Life For Paris that realised something was wrong.
   
“It was Life For Paris that did the checks that the state should have done,” he told AFP.
   
She is not the first person to be caught impersonating a victim of the carnage at the national stadium and Paris nightspots on November 13, 2015, France's worst attacks since World War II.
   
Two people have been found guilty of fraud and another 11 of attempting to swindle the FGTI out of compensation, according to the fund.
   
   
He had described in vivid detail to the media how he escaped death when a pregnant woman “took the bullets meant for me” — only for the story to be exposed as a lie.
   
He too had sought compensation from the government fund.
   
But police noticed several discrepancies in his story, including the fact that no pregnant woman was killed in the attack.
   
Mobile phone data later revealed he was 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the Bataclan on the night in question.

CRIME

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim’s x-ray

A Paris court on Wednesday convicted a surgeon for trying to sell an X-Ray image of a wounded arm of a woman who survived the 2015 terror attacks in the French capital.

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim's x-ray

Found guilty of violating medical secrecy, renowned orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean must pay the victim €5,000 or face two months in jail, judges ordered.

Masmejean, who works at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in western Paris, posted the image of a young woman’s forearm penetrated by a Kalashnikov bullet on marketplace Opensea in late 2021.

The site allows its roughly 20 million users to trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – certificates of ownership of an artwork that are stored on a “blockchain” similar to the technology used to secure cryptocurrencies.

In the file’s description, the surgeon wrote that the young woman he had operated on had “lost her boyfriend in the attack” on the Bataclan concert hall, the focus of the November 2015 gun and bomb assault in which jihadists killed 130 people.

The X-Ray image never sold for the asking price of $2,776, and was removed from Opensea after being revealed by investigative website Mediapart in January.

Masmejean claimed at a September court hearing that he had been carrying out an “experiment” by putting a “striking and historic medical image” online – while acknowledging that it had been “idiocy, a mistake, a blunder”.

The court did not find him guilty of two further charges of abuse of personal data and illegally revealing harmful personal information.

Nor was he barred from practicing as prosecutors had urged, with the lead judge saying it would be “disproportionate and inappropriate” to inflict such a “social death” on the doctor.

The victim’s lawyer Elodie Abraham complained of a “politically correct” judgement.

“It doesn’t bother anyone that there’s been such a flagrant breach of medical secrecy. It’s not a good message for doctors,” Abraham said.

Neither Masmejean, who has been suspended from his hospital job, nor the victim were present for Wednesday’s ruling.

The surgeon may yet face professional consequences after appearing before the French medical association in September, his lawyer Ivan Terel said.

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