The former personnel of the French luxury brand Hermès has appeared in court accused of having a fake handbags designers, whose famous “Birkin” in the name of the british singer Jane Birkin.
In total, 10 people are judged, including seven former employees of the company who would have sold dozens of fake designer bags to tens of thousands of euros.
The court has learned that investigators have fallen into the network of counterfeit after you bugged the apartment of a man suspected of selling handbags stolen in France to customers in Asia.
In the course of these investigations, the police heard conversations revealing the existence of a “secret workshop” which is the manufacturer of fake hand bags.
The accused, aged 30 to 61 years, have produced dozens of fake Hermès handbags between 2013 and 2014, sold between 23 500 and 32 000 euros each, for a total profit of more than € 2 million (1.8 million pounds). Among them were bags Birkin, handbags the most well-known and sought-after of the company.
Prosecutors have stated in court that the three friends were at the origin of the production of fake designer bags, two of which had worked at Hermès, whilst the third dealt with the imports of crocodile skins from Lombardy in Italy, from which the copies were made. Five other people who were working in the company are also in court: one has provided jewellery to decorate the bags and the other four were leather workers qualified who have assembled the bags by incorporating hand-stitching saddle-emblematic of the company.
A number of the defendants are accused of stealing leather scraps, tools, zippers, and “seconds” which were to be destroyed to help produce the bags.
They are judged to be false in the context of an organized group, and several face charges of breach of trust. The suspect, residing in Vietnam, was not present in court and made the subject of an arrest warrant.
The Birkin is a range of tote bags leather hand-made exclusive that were introduced in the 1980s and have become a synonym of luxury chic, prompting waiting lists to buy, which still exist today. It is a collection bag popular and in may 2017, a Birkin bag has been sold at auction in Hong Kong for a record amount of $ 380,000 (305 000 £).
The bag was named after Jane Birkin, according the former. The CEO of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas, was seated next to the singer and actress, married to the French star Serge Gainsbourg, on a flight from Paris to London, during which she complained of the difficulty of finding a good bag for weekend leather. Dumas asked his workers to make him a bag with pockets and the Birkin was born.
The trial continues until Friday.