Jacky Imbert - Trials

Trials

Police were investigating a criminal operation run by the Russian Mafia who were planning to build a clandestine cigarette factory in a warehouse in a suburb of Marseille. As a part of that investigation police taped a phone conversation between Imbert and Erman. Imbert said: "Look, all these ups and downs, they are beginning to cause me problems, you get it?". Police were convinced this was evidence he was part of the operation run by the Russian mafia and in October 2003 he was arrested in a police raid on his home.

The trial started in November 2004. The state prosecutor asked for a five-year prison term for Imbert, the highest term asked for during the case. Prosecutor Marc Gouton said: "Everyone here has testified that without Imbert's authorisation nothing could be done. He has a very strong character. He is not a man who takes orders. He gives orders and others carry them out"; however, prosecution witnesses later retracted their initial testimony. The only remaining evidence linking Imbert to the Mafia project was the telephone call with Erman which, as his lawyer pointed out in court, is open to interpretation: "The case against him is so hollow, so inexistent, so empty, that I am reduced to answering a charge based on the intonation of a voice".

The court in Marseille sentenced him to four years in prison for masterminding the operation. It seemed Imbert's long run of luck had run out. However he appealed and on 8 April 2005, at 75 years old, Imbert was cleared of taking part in the scam to manufacture contraband cigarettes. The appeal court found that the telephone tap evidence against him was unconvincing. The link between the Russian Mafia and Imbert was Richard Erman.

On 16 June 2006 Imbert was sentenced to four years for extorting money from Paris businessmen in the early 1990s. Imbert's counsel appealed the verdict, but on 2 January 2008 Imbert was sentenced to two years.

Read more about this topic:  Jacky Imbert

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