French mobster cleared of cigarette swindle

8th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France, April 8 (AFP) - "Mad Jacky," one of the most notorious gang-leaders in the 1960s French underworld, was cleared in an appeal court Friday of taking part in a Russian mafia scam to manufacture contraband cigarettes.

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France, April 8 (AFP) - "Mad Jacky," one of the most notorious gang-leaders in the 1960s French underworld, was cleared in an appeal court Friday of taking part in a Russian mafia scam to manufacture contraband cigarettes.

Jacky Imbert, 74, better known by his gangland nickname "Jacky le Mat," was given his first ever conviction in December when a court in Marseille sent him to jail for four years for masterminding the operation.

But the appeal court in Aix-en-Provence found that the telephone tap evidence against him was unconvincing. He was due to be released from a nearby prison where he has been held since 2003.

Seven others, including a Russian-born former nightclub owner Richard Erman, were given lighter sentences in the original trial.

Described in a profile in Le Monde newspaper as "The Last Mobster," Imbert was suspected by police of starting a career as a contract killer in the early 1960s before sharing control over the thriving Marseille crime scene.

Despite his known links to crime, Imbert had never before been convicted.

In an interview in 1993 he said: "The cops always came to ask me about the jobs I didn't do. For the ones I did do, I never saw anyone."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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