Police Raid Aviation Club de France, 12 People Arrested

Police Raid Aviation Club de France, 12 People ArrestedThe Aviation Club de France (ACF) in Paris, one of the country’s most famous gambling venues, was raided by thirty police officers in the early hours of Tuesday morning with 12 people subsequently taken away on a number of charges ranging from suspicion of breach of employment law, to money laundering.
The raid took place at the bequest of Serge Tournaire and Claire Thepaut, both judges at the Grand Instance Court in Paris, with the people then arrested including ACF Director of the Games Committee Marcel Francisci. At the same time, simultaneous arrests took place in Corsica, where more than £700,000 in cash was seized apparently linked to the Corsican mafia, who are alleged to have used the club as a money laundering site.
The Corsican mafia are believed to have taken an interest in the Aviation Club de France after the poker boom boosted its revenues, but a calvinayre.com source has said this raid was more specifically related to table games such as Baccarat. Following the swoop, an ACF employee, commented:
“Police were there by 6 a.m., when there were about fifty people still inside the ACF rooms. Most of them were Chinese players, who also happen to be surveyed by the financial police.”
The Aviation Club de France has been a feature of the Parisian gambling landscape since 1907 and is now regarded as an iconic gaming room, complete with a James Bond classic feel. The main games offered at the ACF are baccarat, poker and backgammon, with Texas Hold’em having first been introduced to the club in 1995 by Bruno Fitoussi, currently ranked 8th on France’s ‘All Time Money List’ with $2,747,025 in tournament winnings.
The private club also charges a €150 annual membership fee and employs 200 staff, with the venue generating almost €23 million in annual revenues. The seventeen month investigation has now cast a dark shadow over the Aviation Club de France, and commenting on the situation one employee, stated:
“It’s a blow. It’s done for us! That’s 200 people out of work tomorrow.. [the police] came to close the circle not for a simple control.”

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