Notorious arms dealer run to ground in Alentejo
A notorious arms dealer-turned-fugitive-from-justice has been run to ground on a large rural property outside Évora, in the Alentejo.
Jacques Monsieur was the subject of an international arrest warrant.
His arrest this week involved the collaboration of French, Belgian and Portuguese authorities.
According to the Brussels Times, 66-year-old Monsieur is “known to law enforcement authorities the world over”.
Nicknamed ‘the Fox’ and/ or ‘the Marshall’, some international media sites even call him “the world’s largest arms dealer”.
Reports in Portugal settled with “one of the world’s largest arms dealers”.
Certainly, it appears Monsieur has had a hand in business of war since the 1980s.
Says Belgium’s VTN news: “There has not been an armed conflict in the last 35 years in which he was not involved as a trafficker of weapons”.
Libya, Chad, Pakistan, Bosnia, Croatia and Iran all feature in his colourful CV which has seen various run-ins with the law in numerous countries, including the United States.
But somehow he has always ‘gotten away’.
The last escape came in October 2018 when an appeal against a three-year jail term – for illegally delivering (between 2006 and 2009) hundreds of automatic weapons, ammunition, tanks, helicopters, aircraft and other military equipment to countries at war – saw his sentence increased by a year and the fine multiplied from 300,000 euros to over one million.
Living at the time in France, Monsieur was suddenly nowhere to be found to serve his time.
But a report of a transport company hired to take nine horses to Portugal – and never paid – piqued authorities’ interest.
As TSF radio explains, Monsieur has a passion for horses, and it seems this caused his downfall.
The address to which the French company took the horses was swiftly identified and Monsieur’s hideaway ‘exposed’.
All it took was a swoop onto the property and a thorough search.
Monsieur was found in a ‘hiding place’ close to his beloved stables.
He is due to appear before magistrates today and be extradited fairly rapidly back to Belgium.