Jacky Imbert - Years With les Trois Canards

Years With les Trois Canards

At the start of the 1950s Imbert joined the Bande des Trois Canards, the "gang of the three ducks", so named after the cabaret club which was their den. The gang specialised in burglaries, hold-ups and racketeering, and was said to have built a cellar in their club in which people who resisted paying protection money would be tortured. It was while he was in this gang, mainly composed of Marseille Italians, that Imbert met another future gang leader, Tany Zampa, with whom he would forge a close friendship. Other members were Marius Bertella, Gégène le Manchot (Gégène the one armed) and Gaétan Alboréo. It was with them that the young Imbert learned the strings of the trade, becoming a central element of the team thanks to his self-control and his determination.

Imbert's legitimate work during this period was as a stunt driver, also taking part in races on Marseille's Old Harbour. He became known as a womaniser, with two marriages and six mistresses.

In 1961 he was convicted of pimping in a case involving Raymond Infantes, the kingpin of Oran's brothels, and condemned to six months in prison. Infantes had played on his connections to escape a prison sentence while implicating Imbert, who would never forgive him. Imbert exacted his revenge on Infantes: under cover of the night, he piloted a small Cessna across the Mediterranean to Algeria, kidnapped Infantes and brought him back to Marseille, where he tortured him and demanded a large sum of money as ransom. Fearing for his life Infantes paid up, and the money permitted Imbert to set up his own gang. Imbert hired twenty men without Zampa's knowledge and, while appearing to remain under Zampa's control, he began to run his own separate organisation.

On 14 April 1963 Imbert shot a Corsican Parisian boss, Jean-Baptiste Andréani with a shotgun, twice at point-blank range. Andréani survived. The motive of the shooting is not clear: it might be that Andréani refused to pay the 500,000 Franc protection money demanded by the "Three Ducks", or it may have been a contract taken out by Andréani's rival, Marcel Francisci.

The "Bande des Trois Canards" disbanded around 1965. Mob boss Antoine Guérini was assassinated in a drive-by on 23 June 1967. Imbert is suspected of shooting him on Zampa's orders, as Zampa was still Imbert's boss. The murder was supported by the Milieu gang, who wanted revenge for the killing of Robert Blémant by the Guérini clan. In 1968 Imbert was put on the Police organised crime file with the number 909/68. He also became a trotting driver with his friend Alain Delon in 1968, and in 1973 he became the French champion.

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