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PARIS: At one of the gates of the Bataclan, Banksy’s work since 2018 has paid tribute to the victims of the November 13 attacks in Paris. Stolen in 2019, found in Italy the following year, it will be the focus of an eight-man trial in France from Wednesday.

For three days, the French tribunal must examine the role that seven French men and an Italian man in a stencil representing a miserable young woman are suspected of stealing and concealing the metal door, a street artist claims worldwide.

On January 26, 2019, shortly after 4:00 a.m., a white van with hidden plates stopped at the Saint-Pierre Omelette Passage in the 11th Arrondissement of Paris, an alley through which many Bataklan spectators had escaped the attack, 90 of whom were 2015 They were killed on 13 November.

Three masked men get out of the car, cut the hinges with a generator-powered grinder. In less than ten minutes, they begin work, protected by a Plexiglass window.

This “carefully prepared” theft, in the words of the investigating judge in charge of the case, will finally be explained by information from the Grenoble region of southeastern France and will be sent to the Paris police in November 2019.

Italian farmhouse

It is suspected that three people robbed a DIY shop twelve days before the theft Among the stolen items are … grinders and generators.

It was further learned from their phone that they were together in Paris on the night of the incident. Thirty lines of things and their relatives are tapped: in the conversation, the theft is openly mentioned.

Little by little, investigators find their way back to the door: the Grenoble region, southeast of France, then Tortoreto, the Italian Abruzzo (center). It was on a farm in Sant’Omero, about fifteen kilometers away, when it was finally discovered on June 10, 2020.

Arrested were Kevin G., Frank G. A. and Dennis G. Admitted to the theft, but the last two claims only an executive role.

The man who took the door delivery, Mehdi Meftah, is suspected to have “ordered” the theft. The 41-year-old, who claims to have won 7.5 million euros in the lottery, has created the luxurious T-shirt brand “BL1.D” with an authentic 18-carat gold ring embroidered on his signature neckline.

During his hearing, he debated the order of the flight and claimed that it was placed “before a reasonable consent” before a decision was made to “fix the problem” in Italy.

“Look what I got you back,” Kevin G. told him, according to his account. “, He would answer.

Kevin G. has confirmed this version. He claims that his friend, a wealthy street-art lover, could resell it.

Other heroes, of course, speak of an “order.”

“Symbolic”

The last four defendants, aged 31 to 58, are suspected of transporting the work.

“This is a file that we really wanted to do a lot bigger than that,” argued Mr. Romain Ruiz, a lawyer for Frank GA.

“The symbolism is this and no one underestimates it. Goal is not a decision maker, which makes the length of his pre-trial detention inconsistent,” said Dennis G.’s lawyer, Mr. Margax Durand-Payneclocks.

Dennis G.K. was arrested in March 2021, almost a year after his co-defendants, who, after several months of pre-trial detention, will be released under judicial supervision.

The real identity of the British artist Banksy, who claims to have worked with a political message around the world, remains a mystery. His pieces were sold at auction for millions of euros.

The price of the door is estimated at between 500,000 and one million euros – a controversial amount. Its return to the owners of the Bataclan building was challenged in cassation by the manager of the Performance Hall, adopted by Paris City.

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