Morocco: Frenchman appeals for help for his son imprisoned in Casablanca

“It’s a tragedy”, laments Joseph Clausi. The father of Thomas, a young 20-year-old from Moselle, demanded Friday, September 30 the release of the latter, imprisoned for ten months in Morocco where he had settled and whose project to create a neo-bank in Africa has turned into a nightmare. “He is in detention at 20, he is going crazy”explained to AFP the father of this young entrepreneur from Metz.

His trial before the Moroccan justice has been postponed “sixteen times! He returns on October 6, but it will still be postponed”laments his father, who fears that his son will be caught in a “gear”. “He has been detained in Casablanca since December 23, 2021” after being arrested “following a complaint from a Frenchwoman living in Morocco, who sold her a luxury car against payment in bitcoins (nearly 400,000 euros)”told AFP the young man’s Moroccan lawyer, Me Mohamed Aghnaj.

Customs claim 3.7 million euros

His client is being prosecuted for “fraud”, “payment with foreign currency on Moroccan territory” and in a second case for “destruction of a bank document”, “a check received against a sum of bitcoins that he sold to another person”, details the advice. This last charge could earn him “the heaviest sentence, between 5 and 10 years in prison”even if the prosecution has, according to Mr. Aghnaj “any sense” : he has “simply tore up a check after cashing its amount following a financial transaction”. As for the use of bitcoins, he risks paying a fine, even if according to Me Aghnaj, “there is no explicit law” versus “the use of cryptocurrencies in Morocco”.

Customs, for which the use of a cryptocurrency is an illegal transfer of funds, are demanding the equivalent of 3.7 million euros, explains Joseph Clausi, a former bank employee in Luxembourg who says he had to leave for work. in Qatar “to pay the fees” of justice for his son.

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High school diploma in hand, Thomas, who has “the fiber of trade”, had settled in Morocco where he had launched a neo-bank project, Africa-Pay, explains Joseph Clausi. The first days in prison were very difficult (“more than 40 in a cell, one shower a week”), before improving, in particular thanks to the intervention of the Consul of Italy, Thomas being Franco-Italian, he continues.

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