The judgment does not say whether the bouillabaisse was on the menu.

A restaurant manager was sentenced on Tuesday by the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal to seven years in prison for having embezzled more than 400,000 euros in partial unemployment benefits linked to Covid-19.

Sentenced in November 2021 by the Marseille Criminal Court to five years in prison, the appeal judges increased the sentence of Bassam Ghazouani, 39, and confirmed a permanent ban on managing a company.

Six previous fraud convictions

During online applications for partial unemployment benefits for three fictitious companies, Bassam Ghazouani had provided the bank details of the restaurant in Cassis (Bouches-du-Rhône) in which he was director and which was in receivership, as well as of a small Marseille garage, an accomplice.

Part of the sums paid by the Service and Payment Agency had been transferred to personal accounts in Belgium and Germany and then redirected to accounts in Morocco.

The alert had been given by Tracfin (agency for intelligence processing and action against clandestine financial circuits) following bank movements abroad.

The Court of Appeal upheld the recidivism since Bassam Ghazouani committed these acts, in 2020, when he had benefited from the adjustment of a two-year prison sentence for complicity in fraud.

He has already been convicted six times for similar offences.

The defendants were also ordered to reimburse the Service and Payment Agency the sum of 394,296 euros.

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  • Justice

  • Covid-19

  • Coronavirus

  • Marseilles

  • Conviction

  • Assistance

  • Scam

  • Paca

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