The man pretended he was a policeman in a bid to get hold of a surveillance video of Nabilla at the hotel where the celebrity is suspected of having stabbed her boyfriend. The scam failed and the 35-year-old was on trial in Nanterre this Tuesday, accused of “fraud”. The Essonne resident is accused of having fraudulently gained access to the surveillance system of a hotel complex in Boulogne-Billancourt (Hauts de Seine, a Paris suburb). The man has a previous conviction for ‘handling stolen goods’, and he will go before the 16th criminal division of Nanterre Regional Court, after proceedings were postponed on December 31st. “We are not dealing with a paparazzo, but he nevertheless intended to get the pictures and sell them to Closer magazine whom he had already contacted,” explained the Nanterre prosecutor at the end of November.
At the height of the media frenzy around the Nabilla case, the 30-year-old phoned the manager of the apart-hotel complex, claiming to be from the Hauts-de-Seine criminal investigation department, and mentioned the name of one of the real investigators on the case. The manager gave him access codes to allow him to see the videos filmed while Nabilla and her boyfriend Thomas Vergara were staying at the hotel, from their arrival until emergency services took charge of the injured boyfriend after their argument.
The pictures would have been worth a very tidy sum although the defendant’s attorney Souleymane Ka maintains it was not his client’s idea; he was simply following the orders of a mystery person “in contact with Closer.” A certain “Michel” apparently offered him 2,000 euros to impersonate a policeman.
All in vain, however, as the bogus policeman was exposed. According to his attorney, “Michel” did not have enough time to upload the pictures. This meant the defendant was forced to get back in touch with the manager who, in the meantime had mentioned him to the real investigators.
The arrest of the curvy 22-year-old brunette who was charged with “attempted murder” led to frenzy both on social media and in the gossip columns. Closer published pictures of her boyfriend in hospital. 2 days later, Voici published photos of the reality-TV star in custody. Closer upped the stakes 2 weeks later with pictures of the young woman in jail. Nabilla Benattia was released on December 18th, after 5 weeks of preventive custody.
Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)