The Denise Milani conspiracy: 'Honey trap' professor gets five years in Argentina jail

I thought I was meeting Miss Bikini World, says physicist caught with 2kg of cocaine

She is the internet phenomenon, a Czech-born swimwear model whose website commands a million clicks a month from male admirers around the globe. He  was one of them – a 68-year-old British academic, originally from Kidderminster, who for 11 love-struck weeks believed he was courting on-line the former Miss Bikini World, Denise Milani, and was about to start a new life with her in South America.

Yesterday however, Professor Paul Frampton was sentenced to nearly five years in a notoriously tough Argentinian jail after being found guilty of drug trafficking by a Buenos Aires court – the victim, he claimed, of an elaborate international honey trap set by gangsters pretending to be Miss Milani.

The Oxford-educated particle phenomenologist insisted he was tricked into trafficking a consignment of cocaine after he was stopped in January at Ezeiza International Airport trying to board a plane to Peru.

Professor Frampton, described by his 71-year-old ex-wife as a “naive fool”, said he had been lured into travelling to South America by criminals posing as the amply-proportioned fitness trainer who claims to be the most searched-for model on the internet.

In a newspaper interview after his arrest, Professor Frampton, holder of a double first from Brasenose College, claimed he had been duped by a sophisticated sting operation. “Perhaps I should have realised earlier but the fraudster was very good and very intelligent.” He added: “For 11 weeks I thought I was chatting with an attractive woman.”

The physicist first encountered gangsters posing as Miss Milani, who had nothing to do with the scam, while teaching at the University of North Carolina.

They allegedly “met” using the dating website mate1.com, and following nearly three months of online messaging, the divorcee agreed to move thousands of miles to be with her.

He initially travelled to La Paz, Bolivia, thinking he was going to meet her for the first time. Instead he was greeted by a middle-aged man who gave him a suitcase it was claimed belonged to Miss Milani. The following day he flew to Buenos Aires where he was instructed to fly on to the Belgium capital Brussels where he was told he would finally meet his new girlfriend.

However, after a 36-hour wait for an e-ticket to be sent to him, he decided to abort the plan and fly back to the USA via Peru. He was arrested at the airport and two kilogrammes of cocaine was found hidden in gift wrapping paper hidden inside the lining of his suitcase.

But despite protesting his innocence over the contents of the case, the Argentinian court was read text messages and emails supposedly sent between Professor Frampton and the person he thought was his “girlfriend”.

According to the Argentinian newspaper Clarin, one read “I’m worried about the sniffer dogs”, while others said: “I’m looking after your special little suitcase”, and: “In Bolivia this is worth nothing, in Europe it’s worth millions.”

The court was also reportedly shown a note written by Frampton that read: “1grm/200U$S. 2000grms/400000 U$S”. A source told the newspaper: “At the trial he said he had written it after being arrested, but the arrest witnesses were asked to come back to court and they denied that.”

Professor Frampton, who had faced a maximum 16 years in jail, must serve his four year and eight month sentence at Villa Devoto Prison in Buenos Aires which has been the scene of violent rioting. In 1978, 62 people died during a disturbance.

His lawyer, Eduardo Oderigo, said his client should have been acquitted. “I am convinced of his innocence,” he said.

In an interview following Professor Frampton’s arrest, Miss Milani said she was fearful of the drugs gang. “I’m terrified that these people, whoever they are, have used my identity to trick somebody,” she said. “Like the professor, I am a victim. Since I found out I have felt very vulnerable and frightened, for myself and for my family.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before