Thomas Fabius was three years old when his father Laurent was elected prime minister of France, so it is safe to say that he had something of a privileged childhood – notwithstanding the socialist politics of his father. (Although it has to be said that French socialists do their leftie-ness with Gallic style: Papa Fabius is worth millions and has a swanky flat in Paris and two country homes.) And in keeping with so many children of wealthy, successful parents, Thomas has, to put it kindly, gone off the rails. (Regular readers will know how I love to track the antics of Teddy Obiang, son of Equatorial Guinea’s president Teodoro Obiang.)
Thomas Fabius’s arena of choice for his financial misdoings is the casino sector. In fact, he is so unpopular with them that he is completely banned from entering French casinos – so he goes elsewhere. Indeed, it is believed by the US authorities that he gambled US$3.5 million in Sin City in May 2915 on the very night before his father was appointed foreign minister; he paid with rubber cheques and will be arrested the moment he sets foot in America again, thanks to an outstanding Nevada arrest warrant. This was not his first brush with financial sleight of hand: in 2011, the French bank Société Générale bank filed a legal complaint against him for writing a false email in its name in order to secure €200,000 of credit in a Marrakesh casino. And in 2012, Tracfin (the French FIU) sent a note to prosecutors drawing their attention to €8.5 million of dubious transfers that had been made to Thomas’s bank accounts. It has taken a while for the pigeons to come home to roost, but – and here’s the reason for my current interest – the day before yesterday Thomas was taken in for questioning about just how he, with no job and rather large debts, has managed to buy a Paris flat for €7.3 million. There is talk of charges of forgery, fraud and money laundering. After all, he has form: in 2009, after a business partner sued him, Thomas pleaded guilty to embezzlement and was fined €15,000. Thomas’s explanation is that he bought the flat with his gambling winnings – indeed, he refers to himself as a “roulette champion”. We shall see.
Laurent Fabius, meanwhile, is being (rightly) lauded for his sterling work in negotiating the recent climate change deal in Paris. The son must be hoping that Papa’s influential contacts might be able to turn down the heat on him too.