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Catherine Deneuve’s grandson arrested over Mafia counterfeits

The grandson of French film star Catherine Deneuve and the late director Roger Vadim has been arrested following a police swoop on a multi-million pound counterfeit money racket run by the Italian Mafia.

Igor Vadim, 32, was on Friday in custody in a secure police station in Paris, where he grew up in one of the most famous celebrity families in France.

He was arrested on Wednesday in the Charente-Martime department, north of Bordeaux, and now faces extradition to Italy and the possibility of trial and prison for helping to flood Europe with fake €50 notes.

Igor Vadim, the grandson of French film star Catherine Deneuve and the late director Roger Vadim has been arrested following a police swoop on a multi-million pound counterfeit money racket run by the Italian Mafia. Pictured: Deneuve and Vadim at Paris Fashion Week in 2010

‘Igor Vadim is one of three people taken into custody in France as part of a police clampdown on the Camorra crime syndicate,’ said an investigating source.

‘There were 44 arrests in total, with 40 of them taking place in Italy. The one other arrest was in Belgium,’ the source added.

Operation Nerone – after the Roman Emperor Nero – saw coordinated raids launched on those suspected of working for Camorra, an ancient secret society originating in the Italian region of Campania, and specifically its capital, Naples.

A Camorra Mafia clan specialising in counterfeiting was targeted by Europol, the EU police agency based in Holland.

It led to the seizure of fake cash worth around £9million – a figure that is thought to be a fraction of what the racket was worth.

Vadim was arrested on Wednesday in the Charente-Martime department, north of Bordeaux, and now faces extradition to Italy and the possibility of trial and prison for helping to flood Europe with fake ¿50 notes

Vadim was arrested on Wednesday in the Charente-Martime department, north of Bordeaux, and now faces extradition to Italy and the possibility of trial and prison for helping to flood Europe with fake €50 notes

Real cash with a value of around £7.5million and unspecified goods worth some £9million were also seized by Europol officers.

Beyond Vadim, the others arrested in France were an unidentified Franco-Italian and an Italian national, one of whom is said to be at the top of the Camorra crime syndicate.

Éric Bertand, of France’s Central Office for the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency (OCRFM), said the 40 people arrested in Italy included some from Naples, who were mainly dealing in €50 notes.

‘For the past few years, ninety per cent of high-quality counterfeit money has come from Italy and La Camorra has a sort of patent on this market,’ said Mr Bertrand.

Other investigating sources said each €50 note cost around 30 cents (27p) to make, and it then sold off for €7 (£6.30) a note, ensuring massive mark-ups.

A spokesman for prosecutors and police in Benevento, near Naples, said the investigation started in October 2017 after ‘numerous seizures of counterfeit 50 euro notes’ in the city, and area.

Vadim is extremely close to his grandmother Deneuve, the 76-year-old star of films such as The Last Metro, Belle de Jour and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Pictured: The actress in September last year

Vadim is extremely close to his grandmother Deneuve, the 76-year-old star of films such as The Last Metro, Belle de Jour and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Pictured: The actress in September last year

He is the son of French actor Christian Vadim (pictured), who in turn is the 57-year-old son of Catherine Deneuve and her former lover Roger Vadim, who directed classics including And God Created Woman, starring Brigitte Bardot, whom Vadim later married

He is the son of French actor Christian Vadim (pictured), who in turn is the 57-year-old son of Catherine Deneuve and her former lover Roger Vadim, who directed classics including And God Created Woman, starring Brigitte Bardot, whom Vadim later married

He said the network produced ‘excellent quality notes using extremely sophisticated printing methods.

Paper was not watermarked, but still looked remarkably like the real thing, both in terms of ‘sight and feel’, said the spokesman.

Vadim is extremely close to his grandmother Deneuve, the 76-year-old star of films such as The Last Metro, Belle de Jour and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

He is the son of Christian Vadim, who in turn is the 57-year-old son of Catherine Deneuve and her former lover Roger Vadim, who directed classics including And God Created Woman, starring Brigitte Bardot, whom Vadim later married.

Vadim’s other wives included the American star Jane Fonda and Danish actress Annette Strøyberg.

Igor Vadim’s mother is Hortense Divetain, the 51-year-old comedy writer, and he has been known to use her surname too.

There was no initial comment from Vadim’s immediate family about his arrest.

Deneuve and Roger Vadim with their son Christian in 1963

Deneuve and Roger Vadim with their son Christian in 1963

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