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Tin-: French town of Lille has been hoaxed in the most complete and amusing manner by a- lawyer and two (accomplices, who befooled tho authorities into thinking that they were Moorish notables.

The lawyer is Maitro Guillaume Valenei, a barrister of the Court of Appeal, and the revelation of the hoax came when he and M. Clementi, president of tho National Humanitarian League, were arrested on charges of fraud and illegal traffic in decorations.

Tho lawyer is said to have offered to procure the Academic Palms for a business man in the Faubourg Montmartre, in consideration of a commission of £240. '.I ho fee was paid, but the merchant's name did not appear in the list of promotions. The police were informed, and when Valensi called at tho merchant's house with tho diploma of Official of the Academy, he was arrestei. In his pockets wero found somo diplomas of the Tunisian Order of the Nicham Iftikhar. Valensi told the magistrate that tho diploma of Official of the Academy had been given to him by M. Clementi. who had received it from Nomeono related to a politician of high rank. Clementi, when arrested, protested his innocence, and declared that tho diploma had been duly signed. Valensi is a leading man in the " Order of the Golden Crescent of Morocco." This "order," it was asserted, was formed to give financial help to French soldiers in Morocco. It was supposed to have its head offices in Fez. For sums varying from 5s to £8 a year one could be made either simply a member or an officer or a commander of the " order," and received decorations according to his rank. The Reception at Lille. A regulation was made that members were to wear the decorations only at private meetings. The ribbon was red, like that of the Legion of Honour, > with a scarcely-perceptible green sign on it. Many officers of the "order" had high-sounding titles; Valensi was vice-president. Some time in June last, as adherents to the order" were not growing very rapidly in number, Valensi determined on a great coup. He started a branch of the " order" in the North of France, and advertised for a certain day the visit to Lille of Kaid Said Garda, described as .. representative of the Sultan of Morocco. The " Kaid" and another " Moorish official" appeared, each wearing a burnous, and with them " His Excellency" Valensi, in a red fez. They were received at, the railway station by the local authorities and a number of Lille adherents of the " Order of the Golden Crescent of Morocco." The affair created great excitement in the town. At Valensi's hotel the Moroccan flag was flown from the balcony. Speeches were made at a .banquet by the " Kaid" in broken French, and" " His Excellency" Valensi, and subsequently a number of decorations were distributed'. The prefect of police in the town was nominated an officer of the " Golden Cross of Italy." Some* well-known politicians are declared to be implicated in the scandal. According to Mmc. Valensi, her husband, from whom she is separated, is a feeble creature, who has little will of his own. She said he had fallen into evil ways and questionable company. Some of his friends had also represented him as having little intelligence, and agree that he is a weakling. He was born in Tunis, and belongs to a rich family. His father has been allowing him £40 a month. Blank Diplomas Found. A search has been mado in CI omenta's house at Neuilly, near Paris, and a number of blank diplomas of decorations of different societies have been found. Those of the Golden Crescent of Morocco wero printed in Arabic. There were also diplomas of tho Ligue du bien publique, bearing what purported to bo, the signatures of Clemcnceau, Henri Briseon, Rochefort, Gambetta, and Victor Hugo. M. Curness, an insurance agent and an officer in tho Reserve, told the Court that ho intimated to Valensi that ho would like to obtain the Tunisian order of Nicham Iftikhar. "That is quite easy," answered Valensi, and introduced the insurance agent to Clementi. The latter offered to secure for him the medal of the Society of Public Merit, which he had founded, or, if he preferred it, the Palmes Academiques. But M. Curness insisted that ho wanted the Tunisian order.

"Very well," said Clementi, "you shall have it." Asked how much he would have to pay, dementi replied, "Oh, that is a mere trifle— 80 francs." M. Curnoss received his decoration and diploma of the Tunisian order duly signed. Being, however, suspicious of the authenticity of the signatures, ho reported the whole affair.

A fresh arrest that, has made a considerable stir is that of M. Meulemans, director of the Revue Diplomatique, a weekly Paris journal. In addition to being the chief personage in the Order of the Golden Crescent of Morocco, Valensi, according to documents found in his place, was Chancellor to the Consul-General in Paris for the Three States of Pounani in South America. This non-existent republic was said to occupy a corner of Brazil, to the south of British Guiana. In a letter written on the official paper of the mythical republic Valensi is nominated by the French Republic for the "Red Cross of Pounani."

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Bibliographic details

LAWYER HOAXES A TOWN., New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVIII, Issue 14697, 3 June 1911, Supplement

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LAWYER HOAXES A TOWN. New Zealand Herald, Volume XLVIII, Issue 14697, 3 June 1911, Supplement

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