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eight men in court

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For several witnesses, it is a file “worthy of mafia clans”. This Monday, November 28, eight men, including several ushers from the Val-Fourré market in Mantes-la-Jolie (Yvelines), one of the largest fairground markets in Ile-de-France, will be tried by the Versailles criminal court for having extorted traders on the spot for several years, while having maintained a climate of terror through various threats and pressures. The company Mandon, manager of the market, and the municipality of Mantes-la-Jolie are civil parties.

The case began in March 2013 when the prosecutor’s office of the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Versailles received an anonymous letter denouncing the actions of ushers from the Val-Fourré market. A certain Taoufik E. extorts traders. The names of Faiz S. and his brother Karim S., all in place since 2010, are also mentioned. The procedure is however closed without follow-up in December 2013, before an article of the chained duck in 2014 comes to relaunch the case and that a new investigation is carried out by the prosecutor’s office of Versailles. Another anonymous letter, in November 2014, denounces the actions of Faiz S. and points the finger at the management of the market by Pierre Bédier, mayor of Mantes-la-Jolie from 1995 to 2005 and current president of the departmental council.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The city of Mantes-la-Jolie turns the page Pierre Bédier after a partial municipal election

Despite this, the survey is slipping and we have to wait until 2018 for it to accelerate definitively. In March, the market is moved. According to several testimonies, the three ushers then asked traders between 5,000 and 20,000 euros to rent a space at the new location. Payments of 50 euros were imposed by Karim S. each market day, under penalty of being dismissed the next time.

According to Yves Zeeb Askinazi, director of the Mandon company, which took over management of the market on 1er April 2018, the ushers earned 40,000 euros per month by collecting part of the payments from traders without declaring them. Analyzes of the bank accounts of Karim S. and Faiz S. have also revealed significant cash deposits between 2010 and 2019. 79,000 euros for one, 167,000 euros for the other. The latter, although officially responsible for market security, is identified by several people interviewed as the head of the ushers. He thus directed his brother Karim, Taoufik E., but also Maxime B., an usher hired by the Mandon company in 2018 to monitor the other two and their questionable methods. All four were finally indicted after a judicial investigation was opened in April 2019.

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