Le Pen's godfather arrested for pimping in Paris

14th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

The ageing godfather of French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has been arrested and charged with running brothels in Paris' notorious Pigalle red light district, officials said Thursday.

Henri Botey, 77, is known in the city's seamy underworld as "Monsieur Eric" and has been accused of running two hostess bars, Le Mucha and Le Lorelei, as fronts for prostitution, sources close to the investigation told AFP.

In 1969, Botey was godfather at the baptism of Le Pen, who took over the leadership of the anti-immigrant National Front from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in January, but she insists she has had little contact with him since.

"I must have met him five times in my life. The last time was 20 years ago. I'd had so little news of him I assumed he was dead," she told AFP, noting: "Babes in arms don't choose their godfather when they are baptised."

Botey and an alleged accomplice have been remanded in custody pending trial after they were charged on April 8 with living off immoral earnings.

Investigators told Le Parisien newspaper that Botey's name does not appear on the bars' ownership documents, but that police believe they can tie him to the properties and to illegal acts of prostitution on the premises.

The paper, which broke the story, quoted a retired vice squad officer who alleged that Botey had been a famous figure in the local sex industry for many years.

The National Front accused Le Parisien of trying to sully Le Pen's name by linking her to a case with she she has no direct connection.

© 2011 AFP

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