New conviction in the Lava treasure case

Marseilles. In the fall of 2023, it was on the set of the television show “Touche pas à mon poste!” » – presented by host Cyril Hanouna on C8 – as Félix Biancamaria recounts his improbable story of miraculous sea urchin fishing, during which he accidentally discovered a gold monetary treasure dating from the 3rd century. The happy fisherman spoke while promoting the film Invaluable (directed by Éric Fraticelli), inspired by this discovery that occurred in 1985 in Lava Bay off the coast of Ajaccio, in Corsica, a comedy trivializing concealment and the sale of cultural property in a humorous tone.

At the end of January, it was before the Marseille criminal court that Félix Biancamaria had to repeat this story, facing a less conciliatory audience: the public prosecutor requested two years' imprisonment and a fine of 150,000 euros against him for “concealment of theft”And “possession of maritime cultural property presenting the character of a national treasure”, and his “smuggled importation”. The verdict handed down on March 27 was more lenient, sentencing the Corsican fisherman to twelve months of suspended detention and a fine of 100,000 euros. “We are only laying the groundwork for a long legal battle,” declared one of Félix Biancamaria’s lawyers, Me Amale Kenbib, to our colleagues at Figaro.

Landslide “vs” sinking

Questioning the independence of justice in this case, Me Kenbib intends to appeal the judgment pronounced on March 27, contesting the qualification of “maritime cultural property”. The defense plans to play on the distinction between goods discovered in the maritime domain, which are the property of the State, and those found on land, of which the inventor can claim a part. The archaeological hypotheses evoke a shipwreck or a lost cargo, a thesis contested by Félix Biancamaria's lawyers: they examine the possibility of a landslide from the coast, which would go in the direction of their client.

Already convicted for “concealment and diversion of maritime wreckage” in 1994 in this affair, with his brother Ange and their friend Marc Cotoni, Félix Biancamari appeared this winter for the concealment of a gold dish dating from the 3rd century, a centerpiece of the Lava treasure. In October 2010, he was arrested on the platform of the Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle SNCF station, in possession of the dish of which investigators from the Central Office for the Fight against Cultural Property had lost track. Before the Marseille criminal court, the Corsican fisherman persisted in claiming ownership of this dish. During the trial, the prosecutor Michel Sastre recalled that the Corsican fishermen had “destroys an entire section of knowledge” by plundering the treasure of Lava, highlighting the numerous contradictory statements of Biancamaria in an autobiographical book published in 2004 by Élan Sud.

Priceless: Félix Biancamaria, the true discoverer of the treasure of Lava © ALLOciné

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