The paparazzo was finally summoned for a hearing by the Criminal Division in Tariq Ramadan’s court case
The very controversial paparazzo Jean-Claude Elfassi has finally been heard by the Paris Criminal Division, and his confession appears to be of great significance. Elfassi was recently described by Le Monde newspaper (June 26, 2020) as a man "close to the Israeli far right” with “nineteen convictions in his criminal track record”. His involvement unveils some of the case’s mysteries with the backdrop of money and ideological conflict.
"How much would he pay?" In December 2009, the Swiss plaintiff "Brigitte" contacted Jean-Claude Elfassi, according to his testimony before the Criminal Division, to propose a testimony on Tariq Ramadan. Their correspondence record, found and added to the Swiss file, confirms this contact was established. Yet, despite his claims before the French Criminal Division, there is no mention of rape at all, but rather revelations about the Oxford professor’s private life.
Indeed, "Brigitte" seeks, in 2009 already, to monetize her testimony and asks the paparazzi "how much would he pay" to destroy Tariq Ramadan, because she knows, she says, that Elfassi wants "to destroy him by all means".
Jean-Claude Elfassi further reveals that in 2014-2015, France2 journalist Florence Bouquillat (then at the NouvelObs), who wrote a book with the first plaintiff, Henda Ayari, contacted him and revealed the identity of the person who, in the book they co-authored, has the nickname of "Zubeyr". Again, there is no mention of rape, and it is about intimate relationships, and Florence Bouquillat seems to be hoping that the paparazzi will reveal the intellectual’s real name in order to promote the book that will ultimately have a very small success. Henda Ayari will explain later that she had not revealed the theologian’s name, fearing of "being prosecuted for slander." A statement that proves that she knew she was not telling the truth about the relationship, even before her false accusations of rape.
In 2016, a year before she lodged her complaint, Henda Ayari contacted Jean-Claude Elfassi, according to him, and began a relationship with him. Their idea of revealing the identity of "Zubeyr" and destroying the reputation of Tariq Ramadan remains a common objective. The paperback edition of her book was due out in October 2017, yet no newspaper seemed to be interested, and Henda Ayari was lamenting on social media.
The #MeToo movement had just been launched and Henda Ayari, supported and encouraged by Jean-Claude Elfassi, seized this opportunity and revealed on Facebook the name of the theologian, who suddenly became an "aggressor" and a "rapist" (which did not appear in the book, and journalist Florence Bouquillat never referred to it). Henda Ayari will receive financial support from various sources and will take as lawyer Elfassi's friend, Me Francis Szpiner, as mentioned in the aforementioned Le Monde’s article.
On June 26, 2017, on his blog, Jean-Claude Elfassi made calls to collect testimonials from women revealing Tariq Ramadan's private life and intended to destroy his reputation. There is no mention of violence or rape.
In March 2018, even before filing the complaint to the police, Elfassi himself offered to the Express magazine the testimony of the third complainant Mounia Rabbouj.
According to sources familiar with the issue, he was negotiating, for Mounia Rabbouj and himself, a remuneration of 5,000 euros. Mounia Rabbouj will later accuse - on social media networks and in particular in an article of the GQ- both her lawyer Francis Szpiner and Jean Claude Elfassi of modifying her complaint’s content and of mentioning rape, while she did not want to.
In telephone conversations, monitored by the Criminal Division, she talks about the money received. Moreover, she will confess to her brother Mohamed that she had acted that way in return for financial compensation ("a six-figure amount"). Mohamed has publicly called her a liar about her rape complaint and filed a lawsuit against Jean-Claude Elfassi for falsely accusing him of sexual assault against his own children. The paparazzo was recently sentenced, for the twentieth time, and will have to pay the amount of 12,000 euros to the plaintiff's brother.
Destroying a “vocal and troublesome intellectual”
In November 2019, it was Elvira, the fourth plaintiff, who never met Tariq Ramadan, who revealed on Twitter that it was again Jean-Claude Elfassi who had written her complaint and who had directly contacted the police to reveal its content. On social media, she denounces a "plot" against Tariq Ramadan, the main instigator of which would be the paparazzo she has known for almost 30 years. At the Criminal Division, Jean-Claude Elfassi had to admit that he had been in contact with all the plaintiffs, Henda Ayari, "Christelle", Mounia Rabbouj, "Brigitte" (in Switzerland), before and after they had filed their complaints.
The communications found prove that it was never a question of rape but of a concerted plan aiming to destroy the Muslim intellectual.
Jean-Claude Elfassi is known in France as much for his fraudulent methods as for his extreme and racist positions vis-à-vis Islam and Muslims who, according to him, "infest France": he even called on his "Jewish brothers" to leave France which is being "Islamized". Despite these grave remarks, former Prime Minister Manuel Valls decided to visit Israel side by side with Elfassi.
The court case continues. The central role of Jean-Claude Elfassi is becoming clearer in France as in Switzerland. Serial offender sentenced twenty times; the paparazzo has been discussing since 2009 the possible remuneration to publish testimonies intended to tarnish Tariq Ramadan’s reputation. There is evidence that he manipulated complaints. We no longer are in the phase of the simple thesis of a trap or a set up rather it is an "association of criminals" with "preparatory acts” over a period of more than ten years that has been masterminded by the paparazzo.