Police raid properties belonging to controversial comedian Dieudonné M'bala Mbala as part of an investigation into alleged money-laundering and fraud
John Lichfield has been The Independent's man in Paris since 1997, covering French news. Before that, he was the paper's Foreign Editor and he has also worked in Brussels and Washington. In 1999, he was the UK press Awards Foreign Reporter of the year.
Tuesday 28 January 2014
Multiple police raids were launched today on the homes, office and theatre of the anti-semitic comedian Dieudonné M'bala Mbala as part of an investigation into alleged money-laundering and fraud.
Police raided the comedian's theatre in eastern Paris and several offices and homes, including his large country residence in Eure-et-Loir west of the French capital.
Dieudonné, 47, the creator of the allegedly anti-semitic “quenelle” arm performed by the Premier League footballer Nicolas Anelka, is under investigation for fraudulently engineering his own bankruptcy and illegally hiding €400,000 in Cameroon. He is also accused of asking his fans to raise money to pay his €65,000 in fines and damages for seven convictions for inciting hatred of Jews. Making such an appeal is illegal in France.
Earlier this month, the French government, backed by an independent government watchdog, banned Dieudonné's stand-up stage act for inciting racial hatred. He is currently touring France with an amended version of this show.
Senior French officials warned at the time that they intended to open a “second front” against Dieudonné by pursuing more vigorously long-standing allegations of financial misconduct.
Last week two bailiffs called at his home in Eure-et-Loir to serve notices of non-payment of fines. One of the bailiffs said that a rubber bullet was fired at him from behind a gate by an unseen assailant. Dieudonné was arrested for questioning and interrogated for six hours. His lawyers have denied the allegations.
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