France jails couple for falsely claiming Paris attacks money

US President Barack Obama (right) paying his respects in November 2015 with French President Francois Hollande (second right) at one of the scenes of the Paris attacks.
US President Barack Obama (right) paying his respects in November 2015 with French President Francois Hollande (second right) at one of the scenes of the Paris attacks.PHOTO: AFP

GRASSE, France (REUTERS) - A French couple who were granted €30,000 (S$45,000) each after falsely claiming to be victims of the November 2015 attacks in Paris by Islamist militants received prison sentences on Thursday (Dec 8).

The prosecutor asked for a sentence of five years for the man and 30 months for his wife.

But the court in Grasse, southeastern France, handed down more severe jail terms - six years for him and three for her - and ordered them to pay back the money they had acquired.

The prosecution told the court that the couple claimed to have been near the Stade de France in Paris the night the militants staged bomb and shooting attacks when in fact they were 900km away in the French Riviera resort town of Antibes, at the other end of the country.

A total of 130 were killed and several hundred people injured in the attacks, the deadliest in France since World War II.

The couple's telephone records showed that neither of them had been anywhere near Paris that night, the court was told.

The couple, who have two young children, drew the money from a fund that was opened for victims of the attacks.

The prosecution said they spent the cash on their children and bought several vehicles which the husband traded in the second-hand car business he ran.