A Lebanese restaurant owner posing as an undercover DGSE agent was sentenced to six years in prison and fined 50,000 euros in Marseille on Wednesday, after swindling an entrepreneur couple and deceiving an Armenian man to give him 90,000 euros.
Needing to conduct a tax audit for their construction companies in April 2021, the Marseilles couple met Dany Hadid. Displaying a card from the French General Directorate for External Security (DGSE), Hadid, 49, offered them help in exchange for their "collaboration with the French government."
The couple was invited to finance special agent operations in Lebanon. Although the tax authorities set the amount of their reassessment at 68,000 euros, the couple paid over 853,000 euros to Hadid over the course of a year and a half, in the form of checks and transfers to the defendant's relatives in Lebanon, as well as gifts and jewelry to his wife.
Sometimes accompanied by a fake customs commander, the swindler gave fake reimbursement coupons from the Ministry of Defense. The couple, who believe they sent a birthday present to Bernard Emié, the head of the DGSE, received a thank-you text message signed "Bernard E." The deception went so far that supposed agents were sent to the couple's home to detect possible "microphones." Between them, they refered to the secret services as "The fiber."
"The fiber knows everything that's going on, Dany told us," the husband recalled before court. His wife added: "He told us, 'I can even tell the color of toilet paper.'"
The couple described themselves as isolated, "in a bubble." According to their lawyer Fabrice Giletta, this "total control" ruined them: "They paid him all the money in their accounts and those of their companies, all their life insurance policies and those of their children."
The deception was revealed when, in June 2022, the couple began to have doubts and went to the headquarters of the DGSE.
A second victim, an Armenian shopkeeper whose son had been sentenced to 18 years in prison for the murder of a young man during a brawl, paid his Lebanese "friend" almost 90,000 euros to protect him from possible reprisals. The defendant had forged the signature of the Minister of Justice in a document announcing a false pardon and remission of sentence granted to his son. "It was to cheer him up", Dany Hadid justified himself.
In 2017, he had already been sentenced to five years in prison and fined 80,000 euros in Versailles for swindling an Egyptian restaurant owner, again on the pretext that he was a secret agent, with the complicity of an ex-musician from the gendarmerie brass band.
In April, the Paris criminal court sentenced Hadid to seven years of prison for rape of a vulnerable person, a sentence he appealed. Hadid allegedly offered a psychologically fragile young woman a job as a secret agent and tried to buy her Marseille apartment by providing a false bank document attesting to the transfer of funds from Lebanon. "But you never stop," said the president of the court, Pascal Gand.
At the hearing, Hadid, a hairdresser by training, described the victims as "unclear." Hadid claims that thanks to his collaboration with prison intelligence, 18 members of Daech, who were planning attacks, were arrested. The court also gave Hadid's Syrian ex-wife an 18-month suspended prison sentence and a 10,000-euro fine for handling numerous items of jewelry and cash.