Following a complaint from the house of Hermès, the French police discovered the workshop of a craftsman located in Seine Maritime, who for 22 years has been making several hundred fake “Birkin” bags of the luxury brand. After digging a little deeper, the French police discovered a second international traffic estimated together at more than 26 million euros.
For more than 20 years, since 1998, this Norman craftsman located in Seine Maritime has been making hundreds of fake Hermès “Birkin” bags that he resells throughout the world.
Nearly 455 pieces have been sold since the creation of this workshop and a total amount of 8 190 000 euros has been collected. The man is currently on trial in the Paris court after having admitted all the facts against him.
In 2011, Hermès filed a complaint against this clandestine workshop and brought to light a second network that is still unknown to the police. According to their sources, this is an international traffic that extends from France to China and is estimated at 18 million euros.
The opening of this case therefore now covers both the trade of this craftsman but also this network of international traffic.
A total of 26 people aged between 29 and 86 years old made up this network of clandestine manufacturing, between 2008 and 2012. Nine of them were former employees of Hermès and are currently being tried in Paris, most of them having admitted the facts.
This business was first started in Hong Kong in 2008 and then taken over in Paris in 2012 by another former employee, the owner of a Parisian leather goods company that purchased “quality number three” crocodile skins. The company was selling the same products as Hermès but of inferior quality, which it sold to another former employee residing in Hong Kong. The store manager, who was fired by the brand in 2005, was searched years later. Thousands of the brand’s bags and jewelry were found in his home.
The manager of the Parisian boutique managed to collect nearly 3 million euros in 4 years.
In total, machine tools, gilding irons, bag instructions, dozens of fake “Birkin” bags, money and hundreds of skins were found in all these suspects of this network. The police also reportedly found 92,000 euros buried in a field in the home of one of these people. Sentences have not yet been pronounced in this case.
On September 24, 2020, sentences were handed down following another trial held in June for a case involving ten people, including seven former employees of Hermès accused of having manufactured and sold fake “Birkin” bags in their homes in 2013 and 2014. The Paris court had judged this case and pronounced the sentences of these persons ranging from 6 months suspended imprisonment and a fine to 3 years imprisonment, including 2 farms in addition to a fine of 200,000 euros. No less than 580,000 euros had also had to be paid in addition by all the defendants, while the luxury house claimed 2 million euros in damages.
Featured photo: © Hermès