French prosecutors have revealed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a “shady” relationship with an infamous fraudster known to authorities as the “brain” behind one of the biggest frauds in European history.
Arnaud Mimran, a friend of Netanyahu’s, has been accused of stealing up to 1.6 billion euros in a fraud case often referred to as “the scam of the century”.
The report said that since the early 2000s, the Mimran family has loaned Netanyahu, then Israel’s finance minister, a spacious apartment on Avenue Victor Hugo, in the heart of Paris’ 16th Arrondissement.
Mimran is free on a bail of 100,000 euros after spending 10 months in jail awaiting indictment on charges including extortion in a different case.
The trial of Mimran, who denies all of the allegations against him, will begin in Paris on May 2.
Police are also probing his possible involvement in other cases, including the mysterious murder of his ex-wife’s billionaire father Claude Dray.
This week, Mediapart journalist Fabrice Arfi published the photograph of Mimran relaxing with Netanyahu on the French Riviera.
In a series of articles slated to be published over the coming weeks, whose details were shared with Haaretz, Mediapart will say that Mimran has benefited from wide-ranging connections that have delayed his trial until now.
The name of Netanyahu appears first among such connections as revealed by Mediapart.
“From the evidence I have collected it is clear the Mimran family regularly donated money to the Likud movement in France, and Arnaud Mimran took care to tirelessly cultivate this connection,” Arfi wrote in reference to the ruling and Netanyahu’s party in Israel.
Throughout 2000s, Mimran was suspected of many crimes. He was convicted of tax offenses in France in the late 1990s.
In 2000, three years before a vacation with Netanyahu in Monaco, he was investigated on suspicion of insider trading in the United States and agreed, together with his partners, to pay a fine of 1.2 million dollars.
According to the current indictment, Mimran and his partners stole at least 282 million euros from the European Union over the course of 10 months, from the summer of 2008 to the spring of 2009. He also accused of stealing 1.6 billion euros from the French republic’s coffers.
One of Mimran’s partners, who was arrested and will stand trial alongside Mimran, is Marco Mouly, a Tunisian Jew with a long history of misconduct.