France jails couple for falsely claiming Paris attacks money

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 08, 2016 12:58 PM

GRASSE, France (Reuters) - A French couple who were granted 30,000 euros ($32,000) each after falsely claiming to be victims of the November 2015 attacks in Paris by Islamist militants received prison sentences on Thursday.

The prosecutor asked for a sentence of five years for the man and 30 months for his wife. But the court in Grasse, southeastern France, handed down more severe jail terms - six years for him and three for her - and ordered them to pay back the money which they had acquired.

The prosecution told the court that the couple claimed to have been near the Stade de France in Paris the night the militants staged bomb and shooting attacks when in fact they were 900 km (570 miles) away in the French Riviera resort town of Antibes, at the other end of the country.

A total of 130 were killed and several hundred people injured in the attacks, the deadliest in France since World War Two.

The couple's telephone records showed that neither of them had been anywhere near Paris that night, the court was told.

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The couple, who have two young children, drew the money from a fund that was opened for victims of the attacks.

The prosecution said they spent the cash on their children and bought several vehicles which the husband traded in the second-hand car business he ran.

(Reporting by Matthias Galante; writing By Richard Balmforth; editing by Mark Heinrich)