Thursday, January 27, 2011

£2m fraud

Playboy priest convicted of £2million fraud
by Adrian Shaw, Daily Mirror 27/01/2011

LISTENING sympathetically to his troubled parishioners, Father Antoine Videau portrayed himself as a caring priest.

But he was stealing money from collection boxes and charity donations and was convicted yesterday of fraud after amassing a £2million fortune over 20 years.

Videau, 64, also lived with a young mistress in a luxury villa and lavished the stolen cash on a string of women he drove around Europe in his red Ferrari.

The playboy padre defrauded nuns by renting out rooms in their convent as holiday flats and he spent church funds on a “cultural pilgrimage” to Las Vegas, the Sin City.

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He had 28 bank accounts for the cash and even siphoned off £500,000 fromthe estate of an archbishop after making himself the executor of the will. Videau, the parish priest in Calacuccia on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, cleverly concealed his wild life from his trusting flock.

Prosecuting lawyer Angeline Tomasi said the priest “did not know the difference between right and wrong” and described him as “manipulative and predatory”. She added: “He broke Church laws and the country’s laws.”

Videau was first convicted and handed a two-year prison sentence in May last year but was freed in December with permission to appeal.

But a higher court in Bastia upheld the conviction yesterday and re-imposed the jail term.

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