Frenchman’s trial unveils multi-million euro Rolex replica ring

Photo courtesy of Unsplash via VN Express

A Frenchman dubbed “the prince of fake” stands accused of orchestrating a sprawling network that flooded France with counterfeit watches.

Admitting to masterminding the operation from Thailand, Julien V confessed to overseeing the production of up to 10 counterfeit watches daily, predominantly knock-offs of the prestigious Swiss brand Rolex, culminating in a staggering turnover of 3 million euros (117 million baht) between 2019 and 2022, before his apprehension.

However, revelations from watch expert Michel Vittini suggest the scale of deception may be far greater, with estimates suggesting the Frenchman offloaded at least 50,000 counterfeit Rolexes, some virtually indistinguishable from the genuine articles. Astonishingly, Julien V boasted of tailoring his replicas to perfection, asserting he could craft timepieces completely real, or completely fake, tailored precisely to customer preference.

The allure of these high-quality fakes even drew the attention of Swiss watchmakers, prompting them to deploy private investigators to unmask the operation, according to French media reports.

Julien V’s modus operandi was sophisticated. He conducted business discreetly, accepting orders via WhatsApp and circumventing French customs by routing shipments through Germany before smuggling them into France via the porous border shared by the two nations.

At the heart of this illicit enterprise lies the Frenchman’s staggering wealth. Born in Nice in 1994, the former pizza deliveryman claims to have amassed a fortune by the age of 25, boasting a cryptic stash of 4 million euros in bitcoin, a fleet of luxury vehicles including a Lamborghini, and a portfolio of properties in Thailand.

Yet, behind the glitz and glamour lies a web of complicity. Co-defendant Florian R, a reseller in Julien V’s network, revealed the inner workings of the scheme, disclosing how he procured fake Rolexes for 200 euros and sold them for 400 euros, reported VN Express.

As the trial unfolds, Julien V, now facing off against legal adversaries representing half a dozen Swiss luxury watchmakers, maintains his innocence, choosing to represent himself in court. The verdict is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 20.

Crime NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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