Theft of a Banksy at the Bataclan: "I was presented with a fait accompli", assures a defendant

Theft of a Banksy at the Bataclan: “I was presented with a fait accompli”, assures a defendant

He assures him, he was put “in the face of a fait accompli”.
At the trial in Paris of the theft of a Banksy at the Bataclanone of the eight defendants denied Thursday having
“order” the work, claiming to have organized its transport out of friendship and in the “precipitation”.

Three men recognized the theft, on January 26, 2019 shortly after 4:00 a.m., of this back door of the theater decorated with a stencil claimed by the enigmatic British street artist, a painting considered a tribute to the victims of the 13-November.

Mehdi Meftah, to whom the door was sent the same day in the Var, is judged alongside them. This 41-year-old father, who won 5.5 million euros in the lottery and had launched the luxury t-shirt brand BL1.D before this affair, says he has “made a mistake” and “regret having participated in all this”. On the day of the events, “I find myself faced with a fait accompli”, he swears at the bar, shaved head, blue jacket and beige pants. Faced with the two men who presented the work to him, he said he exclaimed: “what do you want me to do with it?”

“And Jo said to me: ‘I’m warning you, I’m not going back with it'”he continues. “What do I do, call the police? Jo, he’s my friend, when I die I go with him”he adds, explaining that he accepted that the door be stored in his box.

One of the members of the trio who recognized the theft nevertheless declared that he had been told of a “ordered” of Mehdi Meftah, who could have resold the door in the United States.

“Them, what they fantasized about me or what they put together as a film, it’s not up to me to ask the question”, he replies. For him, the one who said that wanted “find an escape”. “I’ve been waiting for this moment to be able to express myself for two years (he was arrested in 2020, editor’s note). Every time I tried to say something, no one heard me!” he also loses his temper, describing himself as the “enforcement of this story”.

“Unsaleable”

A lover of street art, Mehdi Meftah once owned a screen print by Banksy, underlines the president of the court, who questions him about his interest in the artist. “I grew up on the streets” and street art, “if it’s become the new fashionable thing”, “we lived with that”he replies, ensuring that he has known the artist for a long time.

After winning the lottery, “I see that he has a rating, his message is interesting. I have the means, I can afford a Banksy”. However, he claims to have since become disillusioned with the “double speech” of the artist. The door was valued between 500,000 and one million euros during the investigation by the director of the Bataclan, notes the president. “The few experts who spoke said: unsaleable”reacts in particular the defendant.

Over the questions of the court, he continues.
“Forty-Eight Hours” after receiving the door,
“I realize my bullshit”. “I take it, I put it in my truck, I drive it away. I drive the problem away”. Covered in sand, the work was taken to a hotel in Tortoreto, in Italian Abruzzo, by his cousin and one of his friends – whom he says he regrets having “involved”
in “precipitation”.

The latter are like him judged for “aggravated theft”. At the helm, they claim to have learned only after the trip the real nature of the work. The owner of the hotel, a 58-year-old Italian, is also being prosecuted. Via an interpreter, he declares that he wanted to do work and then transported the
“sign” in the attic of a farm about fifteen kilometers away, in Sant’Omero.

It is only there that he claims to have seen the “drawing”. But he maintains that he did not make the link with the Bataclan before the intervention of the Italian carabinieri who came to seize the door on June 10, 2020. “I feel very, very bad and I apologize to the victims and to France”.

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