Russian artist and girlfriend charged over France sex-tape scandal

The Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky and his girlfriend Alexandra de Taddeo are facing up to two years in jail after being charged over the release of a sex tape featuring a former candidate for Mayor of Paris.

Russian artist and girlfriend charged over France sex-tape scandal
Pyotr Pavlensky is a Russian performance artist. Photo: AFP

Pavlensky has already admitted publishing a video showing a man masturbating, along with racy text messages sent to a woman.

The video prompted Benjamin Griveaux, a married father of three, to quit the race to be Paris mayor a month before the first round of voting. 

Griveaux filed a complaint and politicians from across the spectrum have come to his defense, portraying the 42-year-old as a victim of a hatchet job.

READ ALSO ANALYSIS: Does the Griveaux affair mean it's now open season on French politicians' sex lives?

Benjamin Griveaux stepped out of the race to become the next mayor of Paris last Friday. Photo: AFP

Pavlensky, 35, told AFP last Friday that he wanted to expose the “hypocrisy” of Griveaux and his campaign pledges to uphold family values.

Taddeo, a 29-year-old French law student, is believed to have been the recipient of the videos, which were sent in 2018 when she was having a relationship with Griveaux.

Griveaux's fall left Macron's La République en marche (LREM) party scrambling to find a replacement candidate for Paris mayor.

Health Minister Agnes Buzyn is set to take his place despite the daunting odds – Griveaux was already running in a distant third place before the scandal broke.

Pavlensky, who has a long record of provocative performances, received asylum in France in 2017 after several radical protests in Russia.

He was originally detained on Saturday on accusations he pulled a knife during a brawl at a New Year's Eve party in Paris, before investigators shifted their focus to the leaked sex video.

The pair have both been mise en examen (the French judicial system's equivalent of the charging process) over invasion or privacy and publishing sexual images without the consent of the person featured. Pavlensky has also been charged in relation to the brawl.

Publishing sexual images without the consent of the person featured in them carries a maximum term of two years in jail and a fine of between €45,000 and €60,000.

Member comments

  1. ‘Artist’ seems to have become a catch-all, self proclaimed title to justify the behaviour of the antisocial, untalented, and unemployed. The work, if there is any, is usually borrowed, trite, or obvious. Exposing Benjamin Griveaux’s hypocrisy may be justified, but it’s hardly ‘artistic’

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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.