Fake victim of Paris attacks jailed for one year


Mohamadi, French owner of the 'Casa Nostra' restaurant, is pictured on February 5, 2016 during the reopeningImage copyright

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Mohamadi was rejected by the victim’s fund after it decided he was not involved in any of the attacks

The manager of a restaurant caught up in the fatal Paris attacks of 2015 has been sentenced to prison for pretending he was a victim to claim compensation.

Yann Abdelhamid Mohamadi falsely claimed to be at the Casa Nostra restaurant when gunmen opened fire, killing five people outside.

He had already been convicted of selling video of the attack to the Daily Mail newspaper in the UK.

The court sentenced him to a year in prison for the attempt at fraud.

A second year of the sentence was suspended. A second man, Serge Dieujustse, admitted to falsely claiming to being a victim in a separate case. He was also given the same sentence. Both were detained immediately.

Claiming to have been in the restaurant’s cellar during the attack, Mohamadi had attempted to win compensation from the national victim’s guarantee fund, the FGTI.

The fund, however, denied the claim, and found that he had not been at the scene of any of the attacks on 13 November 2015, which left 130 people dead and more than 350 injured.

Prosecutors said his story had been motivated by the potential financial benefit.

Last year, the same court gave Mohamadi a suspended sentence of six months and a fine of thousands of euros for distributing the video of the 2015 attack.

The footage published by the Daily Mail showed a gunman opening fire on the restaurant, sending distressed patrons scrambling for cover, before apparently attempting to kill two women at point-blank range.

However, he seemed to have run out of ammunition, or his gun had jammed, and he left the scene to continue his attacks elsewhere.

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People pass by the Casa Nostra restaurant shortly after its reopening, months after the attack

The leak of the video was accompanied by French media reports that Mohamadi had sold the footage to the British newspaper for some €50,000 (£43,000; £56,000).

The reports resulted in widespread criticism and anger in France, where the alleged sale was seen as a way of financially benefitting from a tragedy.

The Daily Mail defended its acquisition of the footage as “nothing controversial” and “in the public interest”

The impact on the Casa Nostra was severe, with Mohamadi telling French media business had been extremely slow after the restaurant re-opened, and a wave of one-star reviews online urging Parisians to boycott the venue.

Prosecutors said his false claim to have been a victim was a further attempt to take advantage of the tragedy.

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