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Swiss reality TV star 'uncovers fraud network'

Sophie Inge · 2 May 2013, 21:00

Published: 02 May 2013 21:00 GMT+02:00

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It turns out the 20-year-old Swiss-born model-turned-reality TV star has played a crucial role in the toppling of a notorious fraud network known as the “Zaire Connection” when she testified against them, Swiss daily Le Matin reported on Thursday.

The African network – in which Benattia herself played a part – embezzled 300,000 francs and pocketed more than 100,000 francs between 2008 and 2009.

Last month, French magazine VSD was the bearer of the shocking revelation that Benattia, then 17, had spent a month in juvenile detention in 2009 for her role in the network’s criminal activity.

As part of the network's fraudulent activities, which involved "stealing payment orders from individual mailboxes, editing them and sending them back to the banks”, she had opened three accounts under the name Chantal N., with the aid of a stolen Swiss passport.

On Tuesday it was reported that the reality TV star, known as the "Gallic Kim Kardashian",  was denied her own Wikipedia page in French on the grounds that she was “not interesting enough” and that her celebrity status was “more buzz than of encyclopaedic interest”.

(A Wikipedia page has subsequently emerged in English).

Benattia, a native of Geneva who now lives in France, shot to fame in April when she appeared on the French reality TV programme 'The Angels of Reality TV'.

Her on-camera reflections in the show's 'confession room' about her fellow contestant's failure to pack shampoo later went viral on the internet.

Since then, nude videos of Benattia have surfaced on the internet, along with before-and-after photos of the model, who admits to having undergone surgery to enlarge her breasts.

Story continues below…

She has denied having other surgery to boost her buttock appeal and realign her nose, although Swiss media have reported former associates of hers who claim otherwise.

Benattia, who recently posed in skimpy outfits for her own calendar, seems determined to make the most of her fame, with an avowed goal to have her own reality TV show.

PHOTO GALLERY: Click here for a gallery of the model turned reality TV star.

Sophie Inge (sophie.inge@thelocal.com)

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