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article imageFrenchman jailed for pretending to be 2015 attack victim

By AFP     Apr 10, 2019 in World

A Frenchman who received compensation over a 1995 terror attack in Paris has been sent to jail after pretending he was at the scene of the November 2015 assault on the city by Islamic State gunmen.

Serge Dieujuste, 44, attempted to claim compensation from a state fund for victims of the attacks on bars, restaurants and the Bataclan concert hall, which left 130 people dead.

Investigators found that he was watching football at home instead of being in a Cambodian restaurant where three diners lost their lives, as he had claimed.

Dieujuste sought to justify his fake claim by saying the trauma he suffered during the 1995 bombing of a Paris metro station had not been fully recognised by the state and that he had not received sufficient counselling.

"The 1995 attack does not give him a free pass," a prosecutor told the court in Paris about the attack by Algerian militants at St Michel metro station for which Dieujuste received 108,000 euros (121,400 dollars).

He was handed a two-year jail term, one year of which was suspended, late Tuesday and immediately taken into custody, as was a second man who had tried to claim money from the November 2015 compensation fund.

Yann Abdelhamid Mohamadi, the owner of pizza restaurant Casa Nostra which was targeted by the gunmen, was also jailed after he pretended to have taken refuge in the cellar of his business.

The 46-year-old had been given a suspended jail term and a fine of 15,000 euros in June after he was found to have sold CCTV video footage of the attack to British tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail.

The court judged that the images -- in which terrified clients are seen being threatened by the gunmen -- had been recorded without authorisation and illegally provided to a third-party.

Mohamadi was reportedly paid 50,000 euros by the newspaper.

In total, around 15 people have been found guilty of fraud for trying to claim compensation from the compensation fund set up to help people who suffered physical or psychological injuries in the attacks.

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