property seized by the courts sold at auction in Marseilles

More than 200 items, among other things seized during searches, were put up for sale at the Palais du Pharo. A white gold Rolex watch in particular was sold for 54,000 euros.

It is a rather special auction that took place on Wednesday in Marseille. In the afternoon in the Palais du Pharo, the state sold property confiscated during legal proceedings. The sale was organized on behalf of Agrasc (Agency for the Management and Recovery of Seized and Confiscated Assets).

All the items offered were seized from criminals and criminals, especially during searches related to cases of theft, fraud or even drug trafficking throughout the southern region.

“We have crooks who aim to demonstrate their success. It is very good that the state, through the police, judges, deprives them of their illegal profits and resells them for the benefit of society”, offers Nicolas Bessone, general manager of Agrasc, invited this Wednesday morning on the set of BFM Marseille Provence.

Luxury watches, and even a boat

From a pair of AirPods headphones to a Ferrari Modena to designer bags, more than 200 items were auctioned off. A boat, “seized in Corsica in a case of embezzlement of public funds”, was even part of the catalogue. Starting price: 70,000 euros.

Among the items auctioned off was also a very large collection of luxury watches including Rolex and Cartier watches. The bidding price for a white gold Rolex started at 30,000 euros. It was finally sold for 54,000 euros. This product was the biggest seller of the day, excluding vehicles.

A seized Rolex watch, sold at auction in Marseille.
A seized Rolex watch, sold at auction in Marseille. © BFM Marseille

In recent months, trade in luxury watches has grown significantly in the region, and an important network was even dismantled last June.

“It’s still the prerogative of the South. We like watches”, explains Nicolas Bessone. “It’s both a means of money laundering and it’s a means of success, so for us it’s very important to take the watch from the criminal and recycle it, sell it on.”

More than a hundred potential buyers attended the sale in person in the hall, but some were also present virtually. In total, more than 1000 people coming from France or abroad were registered for this sale. Regional Prefect Christophe Mirmand and Marseille Public Prosecutor Dominique Laurens also made the trip to the Palais du Pharo.

The sales concerned goods belonging to persons who have been convicted or simply suspected and whose legal proceedings are ongoing. In the event that an object is sold before the court decision and the defendant is finally acquitted, the state has the duty to return to him the value of the property that he put up for auction.

40 million in revenue in one year

In Marseille, it is the first time that such a sale has been organized. Auctions that are part of the establishment of Agrasc in the region. Since last year, the agency has had a branch in Marseille.

“Marseille and the Marseille area, we all know, is affected by organized crime, by drug trafficking, and it seemed important to us to project ourselves in Marseille”, explains Nicolas Bessone.

And Agrasc doesn’t just confiscate items. The agency also seizes life insurance policies, contracts or real estate. Seizures which have already brought in 40 million euros “for society” since the establishment of the agency in the region in just 18 months.

The money collected during the sale is then reused by the state to finance “a certain number of funds, reintegration, but also to equip the police and gendarmes with the tools they need to fight crime”, explains Nicholas Besson.

recycled items

It can also happen that the seized items are directly handed over to the police and gendarmerie.

“You come in [voiture] X6 from the drug trafficker who goes fast from Spain, you will hand him over to a research and intervention brigade of the judicial police, this means that at zero euros for society, they will have the corresponding means to fight criminals.”

Nationally, the number of assets seized each year in connection with criminal activities runs into the thousands.

Laurène Rocheteau, Cindy Chevaux and Gauthier Hartmann

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