French mother and son on trial for 'revenge' bank robberies
A French shopowner mother and her alleged accomplice son went on trial Monday for carrying out five bank robberies to "get revenge on the state."
Law graduate Fabienne Levy, 51, and her son Jeremie, 21, are charged with stealing around 175,000 euros from two banks in Germany and three others in France in 2006 and 2007.
Jeremie, who was a minor at the time, is accused of driving his mother to three of the banks and faces a 10-year jail sentence. His mother could be jailed for 20 years.
Levy told the court in the northeastern city of Metz that she arrived at the banks wearing a wig and sunglasses, brandishing a capsule-firing pepper gun and speaking German.
"I was never violent, I said 'hello' when I arrived," Levy told the court.
She said at the time of her arrest that she had a "hatred of the justice system" after doing time in 2005 because of involvement in a car theft carried out by her then-husband.
"She felt the bank represented a system that was comparable to the state, which crushes the most disadvantaged," police investigating the case said.
Levy was ruined after her shop went bankrupt in the early 2000s.
Ahead of the trial, she told a local radio station that she wanted to "get her own back on society, to get revenge on the system" and that she had no regrets.
"When I was a shopowner, the bankers rolled out the red carpet for me... When the difficulties began, they treated me like less than nothing," she said.
Levy is described as having a very close relationship with her son.
The mother and son have not been detained during the trial, which continues until Wednesday.
© 2010 AFP