The instigators of the vast driver’s license scam that celebrities had enjoyed between 2013 and 2015 were sentenced to three and four years in prison with two years suspended, Wednesday by the correctional court of Nanterre.
No request for provisional execution for Antonelli
Patrick Antonelli, a former driving school manager, was sentenced to four years, two of which were suspended, together with a deposit warrant, and a fine of 100,000 euros. The court did not ask for provisional execution, the accused therefore did not go to prison after the judgment for which he reserves the right to appeal.
Rabiah Benrais, a former civil servant from the Hauts-de-Seine prefecture, was given three years, two of which were suspended and a 40,000 euro fine.
The two accomplices were found guilty of trafficking driver licenses from October 2013 to January 2015: the investigation had revealed the issuance of 258 fraudulent licenses, some of which had benefited celebrities.
The names of journalist Ali Baddou and footballers Jérémy Menez and Layvin Kurzawa had projected this affair on the media scene.
How did they do it?
Patrick Antonelli, also a companion of the singer Amel Bent, gave Rabiah Benrais the fraudulent files of the customers of his driving school and she was responsible for making the changes in the National Driver’s License File to give them the right to paper pink.
In this scheme, the driving license was generally priced at 8,000 euros and the prosecution quantified the scam “at a total amount of 400,000 euros”, “at least”.
The defendants had recognized the traffic, but the trial did not determine a precise number of fraudulent permits issued, the way in which the system had been initiated or the respective remuneration.
David-Olivier Kaminski, lawyer for Patrick Antonelli, was delighted that the court left his client free after the trial. “This decision is after all quite reasonable,” he said. “It remains to be seen the possibility of an adjustment of sentence,” he added, Mr. Antonelli having already carried out four months of pretrial detention.
What about the other protagonists?
Unlike two other former prefecture officials, suspected of having perpetuated the fraud system after Ms. Benrais’s departure from the prefecture in April 2014, the court imposed sentences of 12 and 18 months in prison with stay with 10 000 and 15 000 euros fine.
The two women and Ms. Benrais, already suspended, were definitively prohibited from practicing in the public service. Finally, a man designated as an intermediary for the Asian community – one of the channels for selling fraudulent permits – was sentenced to 12 months suspended prison sentence and 5,000 euros fine.
Another man, suspected of having been the intermediary between Patrick Antonelli and Rabiah Benrais, was released.