Romain Chollet-Ricard, 41 years old, was sentenced to 6 years of jail and a 2.3 million USD fine. He is just one of the 24 people charged with the illegal manufacturing and sale of the fake Hermès bags. He, an ex-employee of the French brand, is one of them. He is the one that told authorities that the Russian mob is behind the operation. The organization, of which Romain was leader between 2008 and 2021, generated an estimated revenue of 25 million USH. Mr. Chollet-Ricard gave an interview during which he also explains why he decided to collaborate and about his life in Tasmania, where he has been living for the past 5 years
The accused participated in trial in Paris via videocall, which was organized by local authorities. In the interview by News Corp Australia Network and written about by TheMercury.com, Mr. Chollet-Ricard states he was “manipulated” by Russian organized crime. He admitted he gave in when he was offered more money than what he would make with his salary from Hermès.
“It’s hard to say no – he says -. I did everything for my kids. I am not dangerous”. The man claims not to be a fugitive, rather his inability to go to France for trial was due to Covid-19. “I believe that many think I have a lot of money hidden somewhere, but if that was the case, I wouldn’t be here managing a hostel”, he says. Mr. Chollet-Ricard states he plans to appeal “by contesting the definition of ‘fake’ that was given to the sold handbags: clients knew what they were buying and were fine with it. They were quality handbags”.
“If he was involved in any way, is because the Russian mob approached Hermès employees to encourage them to contribute to the counterfeiting process. He was manipulated – says his legal representative, Alexandre Lazaregue, as they await the appeal results -. It’s a matter of copyright, which is very unclear in France”.
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