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Police sting foils Geneva assassination bid

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22:14 CEST+02:00
A Geneva court on Thursday jailed a 33-year-old Indian restaurant owner for five years for attempting to hire a hit man to kill an employee he believed was carrying on with his wife.

A prosecutor had sought an eight-year prison sentence for the convicted restaurateur and tobacco shop owner, who was caught in a sensational undercover police operation.

The court heard the businessman, a father of three who arrived in Switzerland in 1996, was extremely jealous about the man he suspected, who came from the same village in India as him.

“At home in India, men do not take the women of others,” the accused testified, according to a report from Le Matin.

He initially reacted by firing the employee, then thought about scaring him into leaving Switzerland.

In April 2008, one of his friends put him in contact with an Albanian capable of “doing something bad for 11,000 francs or to kill for 100,000 francs,” the restaurant owner told the court.

“They gave me the price for cutting off ears, breaking arms,” he said.

“I was shocked.”

The man did not engage the Albanian but he was later approached by another “hit man” named Rio, who turned out to be an undercover police officer, Le Matin reported.

In an elaborate trap, the officer agreed to kill the rival for 20,000 francs, although the restaurant owner wanted proof of the deed before paying, the newspaper said.

The officer complied by providing a film showing a false execution, according to court evidence.

The culprit was arrested and released from custody in July 2008 after paying 100,000 francs bail to await the court case.

The 12-day undercover police sting was triggered after the Albanian informed police.

“The accused wanted the death of his rival in a very determined manner,” prosecutor Pierre-Alain Chatelain is reported to have told the court.

Meanwhile, Virginie Lucas, a lawyer representing the rival, said her client “only escaped death by a hair”.

Yaël Hayat, lawyer for the convicted man, said he hoped to appeal the sentence, the ATS news agency reported.

In arguments to the court, the defence criticized the police for entrapment, as well as the role of the Albanian intermediary, who did not testify at the trial.

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