A Frenchman is said to have ordered a horrific double murder and managed to hide out for twenty years – as a businessman and “mosquito expert”. The Netherlands has arrested him and must now decide to extradite him.
In December 1991, two bodies were found in Guatemala. The bodies appear to have been severely beaten and set on fire. Both victims, owners of a French restaurant, received a direct bullet in their heads.
A few weeks later, Frenchman Thierry Ascione, who also lives in Guatemala, enters a bank in Miami, America. He handed over two checks. It shows the forged signature of one of the French victims. Ascione cashes the checks, collects $80,000, and disappears up north.
He has been wanted for the double murder ever since. But the man miraculously managed to hide and escape justice for the past 30 years. In June this year, he was arrested by chance in Schiphol. A Dutch judge will decide on Wednesday whether he will be extradited to France or not.
Thierry Ascione (64) already had 11 convictions for various types of crimes to his name when he settled in Guatemala in 1991. Away from home, he seems to want to shed his criminal image. He’s going to sell trucks. However, according to the French judiciary, he gave the order to kill the owners of the restaurant in Guatemala because of a dispute with the two. It’s done by a “professional”: Ascione hires an ex-military with the title of “tattooed person.”
He flees to Asia with the money he withdraws in Miami. His freedom is short-lived. In 1995, he was arrested during a stopover at Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris. The French judiciary begins preparations for the trial, and Ascione says it has nothing to do with the double murder. The preliminary investigation takes so long that after almost five years the judge was forced to temporarily release Ascioni, pending the start of the trial.
Without leaving a trace
This tempts the gods. Ascione will first live near Saint-Tropez. When the trial began shortly afterwards, in 2000, he was missing. He was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment in 2001. The Frenchman quietly resumed his old life in Asia, apparently under an assumed name. It has remained out of the hands of the French judicial system for almost twenty years.
Ascione has started an import-export company in Thailand, according to documents leaked by French authorities. He also settled in the Philippines for a while, where he pretended to be the miracle doctor who discovered an effective treatment against mosquitoes. “He appears with her on TV and is actually part of the plane that was set in the Philippines,” La Dépêche wrote in an expanded photo of Ascioni. “Interpol has now put him on their wanted list.”
In 2021, he will board a sailboat in the Philippines with a friend and their two dogs. “He wanted to sail to (in French, ed.) New Caledonia. He has given the authorities his real identity,” said his then-lawyer Arthur Verkin. Ascione is said to be ill. He wants to go to France to get medical care and wants to tell his story to the French justice system – because The double murder is now over. “But they got into a storm with their boat, and all the electronics on board went down, and they ended up on a small island,” Verkin said. “This is an Indonesian island and the authorities there are arresting him.
This follows a Kafkaesque position. Ascione is accused of murder, which is why no airline wants to fly him to France: he is said to be dangerous. Indonesia does not want to provide directions to the police because the Frenchman is in the country illegally.
About a year and a half later, in June 2023, he will still be flying. He did not reach Paris. During his stop in Schiphol, he was handcuffed by military police. The Public Prosecution in the Netherlands said, “The man was arrested based on a European arrest warrant issued by France.” The day after tomorrow, a Dutch judge will decide whether to extradite him to Paris.
Thierry Ascione himself said in the French press that he wanted to return to France. “If I am tried again, I will tell everything. I am not afraid of the truth.”
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