Branded watches, jewelry and luxury cars… There was something for everyone, but not for every budget. A total of 209 properties seized in the context of criminal proceedings were sold at auction this Wednesday in Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône), for a total amount of nearly 815,000 euros.
« It’s a republican and citizen sale, » said Alain Caumeil, director of the National Directorate of State Interventions (Dnid) who organized the sale on behalf of the Agency for the Management and Recovery of Seized and Confiscated Assets ( Agrasc). Some 200 people were present in the great hall of the Palais du Pharo, lent for the occasion by the municipality of Marseille.
In addition to luxury watches, coins, jewelry, fashion accessories, leather goods, works of art, perfumes, spirits and luxury vehicles were on sale, including several Porsches, Ferraris and a Mercedes convertible. The starting value of the auctioned goods was 650,000 euros. One of the Ferraris was sold for 68,000 euros.
Bidding got off to a flying start with the first lot with a Rolex Master II Pepsi watch priced at 30,000 euros and sold for 54,000 euros.
“When you have cases of cash, you have to spend them well”
These were the first auctions organized in Marseille of criminal assets, seized in three years on the Mediterranean arc, in particular from drug traffickers.
“I wanted to set up the first Agrasc branch in Marseille in March 2021 because it is an area unfortunately very affected by organized crime”, explained its general manager Nicolas Bessone, who was pleased that 40 million Euros have already been seized on this spring in just 18 months.
“The flashiest possessions are often the preserve of narcotics traffickers who like outward signs of wealth. When you have cases of cash, you have to spend them well, ”he says.
The money collected will make it possible « to supplement the general budget of the State but also to give the means to the investigative services and to compensate victims as a priority », continued Nicolas Bessone. On the strength of this success, Agrasc, which still makes 45% of its seizures in the Paris region, has already created four branches, in Marseille, Lyon, Rennes and Lille, and plans to open three more in the spring in Fort-de-France, Nancy and Bordeaux.