PARIS – Easy come, easy go. Paris’ chic and oh-so-discreet Place Vendome, the center of the capital’s jewelry business, is awash with red faces following a comic jewelry scam that paid off big time.
The unwitting – or witless – victim of the operation was the low-key Au 2 Place Vendome shop – purveyor of trinkets to the mega-wealthy. As for the haul, two Italian “businessmen” made off with $4.6 million worth of baubles, which they paid for in German marks. Or so the jeweler thought.
The deal completed, shop reps hurried round to a local bank to stash the proceeds of the sale, only to find that they had overlooked a tiny detail. On the back of the 1,000-mark notes was clearly written “Bank Note Walt Disney.”
Disneyland Paris execs, scarcely able to control themselves, have pointed out that while the park does have its own Disney dollars, complete with Mickey Mouse logo, no marks have ever been printed – at least not by the squeaky clean entertainment group.
As details of the scam leaked out, it became clear why the jewelry shop had been taken in. The two Italians, claiming to represent a Saudi Prince, approached the shop looking to buy a substantial quantity of rings and diamond necklaces. To give their tale that vital touch of authenticity, they admitted that the object of the acquisition was to launder money, hence they would pay twice the market value for their purchases.
Clearly bowled over by this display of integrity, Au 2 Place Vendome set about gathering the necessary articles, before heading off to the Hotel Intercontinental to complete the transaction.
It appears that reps from the shop asked the Italian duo to remain in the hotel while they went to a nearby bank to check the notes. Surprisingly, the Italians hot-footed it out of the hotel and have not been seen since.
Daily Variety understands that all rights to this sorry saga are still available.