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Fake reporter met stars for 20 years

Man posed as a Radio France journalist to get access to his favourite personalities

A MAN who spent 20 years pretending to be a Radio France journalist so that he could meet his favourite stars has been convicted of fraud and identity theft.

The 55-year-old secured press passes for some of France's biggest music events by claiming to work for France Culture.

Transport, hotel and food bills were paid by the event organisers - but he opted to travel second-class and stay in budget hotels to avoid suspicion.

It was not until 2010 when he was caught when an official at a festival in Lorient asked to see his press card.

Described in court as a loner suffering from anxiety, he told Paris criminal court that meeting idols such as Alain Souchon, Julien Clerc and Maxime Le Forestier gave him a much-needed psychological boost.

He said he would often listen back to his taped interviews as a souvenir and kept extensive press cuttings and photos in his house of his favourite personalities.

The man said he had always wanted to become a journalist and did not set out to cause any harm to anybody.

The court ordered him to pay €2,500 in damages and legal fees to Radio France. Prosecutors had also called for a three-month suspended prison sentence.

Photo: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra/Flickr

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