The French fraudster, socialite and high-stakes poker player Arnaud Mimran has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for masterminding the 2016 kidnap of a Swiss financier.
Mimran was already serving an eight-year sentence for “the swindle of the century,” as it was dubbed by French media. This was a fraud committed in 2008 and 2009 that bilked the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme out of €300 million ($345 million).
Mimran is also accused in two separate murder cases.
The 49-year-old Frenchman’s bank accounts were already frozen in January 2015 because of the emissions tax fraud when he arranged to meet the financier, Yomi Rodrig, in a western Paris suburb.
Rodrig was bundled into a car by a gang led by a man named Sabir “Titax” Titouh and forced to buy millions of shares in a shell company called Cassidy Ventures Inc, controlled by Mimran.
When Goldman Sachs called Rodrig back to say they would not take the trade because it was “bizarre,” his kidnappers forced him to buy the shares through a smaller broker the following day. The day after that, Titouh was shot dead on his doorstep.
Suddenly lacking a leader, the scheme fell apart and his kidnappers let Rodrig go. They told him he was lucky because he had been earmarked to be killed.
Rodrig had been held for six days and was forced to buy $2.6 million in shares, although his kidnappers had wanted more.
Three other defendants were sentenced to between four and eight years for their roles in the plot.
Mimran denied having knowledge of the kidnapping. He had told the court he had discussed finding ways to attract investors with Titouh but had no idea the latter intended to take such drastic measures.
Mimran once dated Paraguayan supermodel Claudia Galanti and was a fixture in the gossip pages of French tabloids. Before his arrest, he hobnobbed with then-Israeli prime minister Banjamin Netanyahu.
Primarily a high-stakes cash game player, his highest tournament finish was 13th at the EPT Monte Carlo in 2006. At the time of his arrest, he had run up debts of $6 million at the Wynn Las Vegas, according to court filings.
Mimran was detained for carbon-credit tax fraud the day after Titouh was found dead. He was a member of a group who took advantage of a loophole in the tax system between various EU countries to avoid paying value-added tax (VAT), similar to sales tax in the US, on the international trading of carbon credits.
The French government has said it lost €1.6 billion ($1.9 billion) because of the loophole, while the total loss to all EU states is estimated to be €5 to €10 billion ($6 to $12 billion).
Prosecutors believe Mimran murdered his partner in crime in 2010, a French Israeli conman named Samy Souied.
They also accuse him of the murder of his father-in-law, 76-year-old billionaire hotelier and art dealer Claude Dray, who was shot dead at his home in 2011.
Mimran tried to kill himself after he returned to his cell following his sentencing Friday, according to the AFP. He was still hospitalized as of Sunday, his lawyer said.
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