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Le Drian Case Fraudsters who scammed Aga Khan and Inan Kirac have been jailed

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Seven including two fraudsters of Israeli origin who impersonated the French minister Jean-Yves Le Drian have been jailed in the Le Drian Case. Gilbert Chikli (54) and Anthony Lasarevitsch (35), both Franco-Israelis, scammed the His Highness Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims, and Turkish businessman Inan Kirac.

The two men impersonated a French minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in order to trick wealthy people. According to BBC, Gilbert Chikli and Anthony Lasarevitsch stole an estimated €55m (£48m / $50m).

Gilbert Chikli, Anthony Lasarevitsch and five others have now been jailed and fined by a French court in Paris.

Gilbert Chikli (r) and Anthony Lasarevitsch
Gilbert Chikli (r) and Anthony Lasarevitsch (l) are being sentenced in a French court on charges of impersonation and scamming people.

Gilbert Chikli has been jailed for 11 years and fined €2m while Anthony Lasarevitsch has been given a seven-year sentence and a fine of €1m. The other five received sentences ranging up to five years in prison. One defendant was also reportedly released without any charges.

The impersonators would set up meetings on Skype, one of the fraudsters would wear a custom-made Le Drian silicone mask and sit in a facsimile of Le Drian’s ministerial office, complete with flags and a portrait of then-President François Hollande.

In 2015 and 2016m the convicted scammers made fake calls by impersonating French minister Le Drian and requested financial help to pay ransoms for journalists being held hostage by Islamists in the Middle East.

Aga Khan
His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, the spiritual lead of Ismail Muslims

According to Radio France Internationale, in March 2016, Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) transferred 20 million euros to accounts in France, Poland and China.

A total of 12.4 million euros were later recovered but 7.7 million euros were lost without a trace.

Turkish business tycoon Inan Kirac
Inan Kirac, the Turkish business tycoon and Chairman of Kiraca Holding AS.

Similarly, Turkish business magnate Inan Kirac wired 47 million euros to Chinese and United Arab Emirates accounts.

Prosecutors say evidence was found on the mobile phones of Chikli and Lasarevitsch their arrest in Ukraine in 2018. They also had planned to impersonate Prince Albert II of Monaco.  the gang approached more than 150 prominent figures and organizations including King Philippe of Belgium, Gabonese President Ali Bongo, the CEO of the Lafarge cement company, church leaders and charities.

Sources: BBC, NY Times, RFI

World 27/7 Staff keeps you updated with the breaking news and the latest stories from around the world.

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