While dozens laid dead and hundreds more were injured on the Promenade des Anglais in the wake of the Bastille Day terror attack in Nice, one couple was busy taking advantage of the situation.
Sasa Damjanovic and his wife Vera Vasic were condemned to a respective six years and four years in prison by the Correctional Tribunal of Grasse on 19th April. They are accused of fraudulently claiming money from the fund set up to support the victims of the Nice terrorist attack on 14th July 2016.
Last December, the couple was also arrested for fraud based on a similar monetary compensation claim linked to the Paris terrorist attack on 13th November. They had tried to claim 60,000€. Vasic and the couple’s children falsely told a judge in Paris that they were present when the explosion occurred at the Stade de France.
The organisation that deals with the support fund for the victims of terrorism in France (Fond de Garantie des Victimes des Actes de Terrorisme et d’autres Infractions) required the assistance of the public services of Nice to investigate. The judicial police of Nice first became sceptical about the couple’s intentions when their names appeared in the files for the Paris attack. Their doubts were confirmed when they discovered that the location on their phones, at the moment of the attack, indicated they were in Cannes.
Damjanovic reportedly apologised in court, saying that he hadn’t realised the seriousness of the crimes he had committed at the time.
Despite the apology, the court expressed a wish to make a penal example of their misconduct by banning them from entering the Alpes-Maritimes for five years following their future release from prison.
In case of re-offending, they will each receive an additional sentence of 14 years of imprisonment.