SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

French police bust up Nigerian prostitution ring

French police said on Friday they have dismantled a Nigerian prostitution and trafficking network suspected of collecting and laundering tens of millions of euros across the country.

French police bust up Nigerian prostitution ring
A picture taken on October 19, 2013 shows a prostitute near the Matabiau railway station in Toulouse, southwestern France. AFP PHOTO / REMY GABALDA
Thirty people of Nigerian nationality were arrested during two rounds of judicial police raids in June and September following a 15 month investigation.
 
Police identified suspects who collected cash from young Nigerian women prostituting themselves in different cities across France, officers said, estimating the network laundered between €30 and €50 million ($35-58 million) in the last three years. 
 
“The collectors were moving money from Lille, Colmar, Strasbourg, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nantes or Paris,” said head of anti-trafficking agency OCTREH, Jean-Marc Droguet.
 
A hair salon and a grocery store in northern Paris were used as collection points for the money before it was handed over to carriers who concealed the cash in double-bottomed suitcases and left the country.
 
The carriers would sometimes pass through other European capitals and African countries to avoid suspicion, officers said, but the money was always destined for Nigeria.
 
“Everything was going back home,” Droguet said.
 
Two Nigerian mafia gangs, the Supreme Eiye Confraternity (SEC) and Black Axe, were involved in the network, officers said.
 
Police have so far managed to recover just a fraction of the money: €200,000 in March and €250,000 in June.

CRIME

French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

A French court on Thursday convicted eight men for the theft and handling of a Banksy painting paying homage to the victims of the 2015 attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris.

French court convicts 8 for stealing Banksy from Paris terror attack site

Three men in their 30s who admitted to the 2019 theft were given prison sentences, one of four years and two of three, although they will be able to serve them wearing electronic tracking bracelets rather than behind bars.

Another man, a 41-year-old millionaire lottery winner and street art fan accused of being the mastermind of the heist, was given three years in jail for handling stolen goods after judges found the main allegation unproven. His sentence will also be served with a bracelet.

Elsewhere in the capital, the defence was making its final arguments in the trial of the surviving suspects in the 2015 Paris attacks themselves, with a verdict expected on June 29.

‘Acted like vultures’ 

British street artist Banksy painted his “sad girl” stencil on the metal door of the Bataclan in memory of the 90 people killed there on November 13th, 2015.

A white van with concealed number-plates was seen stopping on January 26, 2019 in an alleyway running alongside the central Paris music venue.

Many concertgoers fled via the same alley when the Bataclan became the focal point of France’s worst ever attacks since World War II, as Islamic State group jihadists killed 130 people at a string of sites across the capital.

On the morning of the theft, three masked men climbed out of the van, cut the hinges with angle grinders powered by a generator and left within 10 minutes, in what an investigating judge called a “meticulously prepared” heist.

Prosecutor Valerie Cadignan told the court earlier this month that the perpetrators had not sought to debase the memory of the attack victims, but “being aware of the priceless value of the door were looking to make a profit”.

She said the thieves “acted like vultures, like people who steal objects without any respect for what they might represent”.

During the trial, Bataclan staff said the theft sparked “deep indignation”, adding that the painted door was a “symbol of remembrance that belongs to everyone, locals, Parisians, citizens of the world”.

Investigators pieced together the door’s route across France and into Italy, where it was found in June 2020 on a farm in Sant’Omero, near the Adriatic coast.

Three men involved in transporting the door were each jailed for 10 months, while a 58-year-old Italian man who owns a hotel where it was temporarily stored received a six-month suspended sentence.

SHOW COMMENTS