The multi-millionaire ex-fashion boss accused of sex offences caught in Jill Dando murder mystery amid claims bungling hitman may have murdered BBC star instead of lesser-known journalist who was threatening to expose allegations about him
- READ MORE: Who Killed Jill? Theories behind Britain’s biggest unsolved murder
- Marie strongly denies wrongdoing and has not been charged with a single crime
With his blonde highlights catching the sunshine, and a beautiful wife young enough to be his daughter on his arm, there is no doubt that Gérald Marie is still living his best life.
Whether at his one of his palatial homes in his native France, or his spectacular villa on the Spanish island of Ibiza, the multi-millionaire retired fashion boss seems to have it all.
He travels by private jet and chauffeur-driven limousines, eats at the finest restaurants, and favours made-to-measure clothes by Smalto, the exclusive Paris tailors.
The flamboyant 73-year-old even maintains a seemingly rock-solid marriage to Russian supermodel Irina Bondarenko, 46 – something that appears open to question considering the sulphurous accusations aimed at him.
Not only is Mr Marie accused of sex offences including rape by numerous named models from his days at the world-famous Elite agency, but he finds himself embroiled in the Jill Dando murder enquiry.
Multi-millionaire retired fashion boss Gérald Marie (pictured left with wife Russian supermodel Irina Bondarenko) ist still living his best life
Gérald Marie (left) with his first wife, Canadian supermodel Linda Evangelista (right), now 58, who last week said he abused her during their 5-year marriage, which ended in divorce in 1993
Mr Marie has found himself embroiled in the Jill Dando (pictured) murder enquiry
Explosive legal papers filed in Paris allege that a bungling hitman may have murdered the BBC star in London in 1999 instead of a lesser-known journalist who was threatening to expose allegations that Mr Marie was a serial abuser.
READ MORE: Jill Dando’s brother hopes new Netflix documentary on BBC presenter’s unsolved murder may ‘prick the conscience of whoever who did it’ and make them come forward
This was while Mr Maire was still president of the Europe division of Elite, while it was representing household names including Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, and Cindy Crawford.
Before considering the strength of such claims – ones that can be reported freely after his accusers waived their right to anonymity – it is important to state that Mr Marie vehemently denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged with a single crime.
On the contrary, prosecutors in Paris this week told Mail Online that there is no current prospect of testing the claims before a judge and jury.
They opened an investigation against Mr Marie in 2020, when he was suspected of ‘rape and sexual assault and harassment,’ including of teenagers.
Detailed statements came from household names, such as Hollywood star Carré Otis.
Both Ms Otis, now 54, and fellow American Jill Dodd, 62, accuse Mr Marie of raping them, while Ebba Karlsson, the 53-year-old Swede, alleges that Mr Marie sexually assaulted her in his Paris office when she was 20.
Even Mr Marie’s first wife, Canadian supermodel Linda Evangelista, now 58, last week said Mr Marie abused her during their five-year marriage, which ended in divorce in 1993.
But, on February 13 this year, a judge ruled that all the detailed accusations against Mr Marie were out-of-time, because they were said to have happened as far back as the 1980s and 90s.
France’s rigid statute of limitations means that the rape or sexual assault of an adult must be prosecuted within two decades, while in the case of minors the limit is 30 years.
Former BBC journalist Lisa Brinkworth, 55, believed she might circumvent the time limit based on compelling new evidence, and this is where the Jill Dando link comes in.
Ms Brinkworth filed a detailed complaint in Paris three years ago, alleging that Mr Marie sexually assaulted her on October 5, 1998, while she posed as a model as part of an investigation into agentssuch as Mr Marie.
After the programme, MacIntyre Investigates, presented by Donal MacIntyre, aired in the UK, Elite successfully sued for misrepresentation.
A once confidential agreement included the BBC paying out £1.7million in damages, and not airing the documentary ever again.
But when, decades later, up to 15 women came forward to denounce Mr Marie, Ms Brinkworth lodgedher own complaint.
Her Paris lawyers now refer to a conversation witnessed by a former Elite executive in which Mr Marie allegedly ordered a member of the Russian mafia to ‘deal with a problem’.
Pictured above: Ms Dando at the front door of her home in Fulham
Netflix ‘s upcoming documentary ‘Who Killed Jill Dando’ has sparked speculation about one the murder of TV presenter Jill Dando
Legal papers filed by Paris firm Bourdon & Associates, read: ‘Shortly thereafter… a BBC journalist, Jill Dando, was shot dead in April 1999.’
Referring to the similarities between Dando and Brinkworth, the papers continue: ‘Indeed, these two journalists were in their 30s, were blonde with similar facial features and of the same height and stature.
‘They lived close to each other and had people in common, including the [partner] of Jill Dando.’
Ms Dando was engaged to consultant gynaecologist Alan Farthing, and Ms Brinkworth happened to be one of his former patients.
In their file sent to prosecutors, lawyers William Bourdon, Amélie Lefebvre and Anne-Claire Lejeune refer to ‘the fear of physical reprisals, going as far as a contract killing, preventing a filing of a complaint within the required time frame by Lisa Brinkworth, who accuses Gérald Marie of sexual assault in the context of her report.’
The lawyers add: ‘They are therefore requesting, in an unprecedented approach, an extension of the limitation period, paving the way for a future trial.’
A new Netflix series on the unsolved killing of Ms Dando, who presented Crimewatch, also rehearses the mistaken identity theory – one that a lawyer representing Mr Marie has described as ‘fanciful nonsense’.
He said Mr Marie was at the time already in a serious relationship with Ms Bondarenko, whom he married at a glittering ceremony at a château near Paris in 2000.
They had a daughter – Mr Marie’s second child – shortly afterwards, and he became a devoted family man who was ‘more interested in watching rugby than hanging out with young models,’ said the lawyer.
There was a cocaine scandal at Elite in the early 2000s, with employees being arrested following a raid of the agency’s Paris HQ, but Mr Marie was simply questioned and then cleared.
He left Elite in 2011, and became director of another agency, Oui Management, where he remained until 2020.
In an interview with the Spanish news outlet Noudiari from his Ibiza villa a year later, Mr Marie (pictured) blamed his legal ordeal on the global #MeToo movement, which has brought sex abusers such as ex-Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, now a convicted rapist, to justice
Mr Marie, 73, even maintains a seemingly rock-solid marriage to Russian supermodel Irina Bondarenko (picturd), 46
In an interview with the Spanish news outlet Noudiari from his Ibiza villa a year later, Mr Marie blamed his legal ordeal on the global #MeToo movement, which has brought sex abusers such as former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, now a convicted rapist, to justice.
‘Me Too promotes by destruction without evidence,’ said Mr Marie, adding: ‘It’s not normal for these accusations to appear thirty-five or forty years after when they are supposed to have happened.
‘It doesn’t make any sense, beyond people causing harm or seeking some kind of benefit. If someone finds themselves in a situation like the one explained by these models, the usual, and logical, thing is for them to report it instantly, not more than three decades later, as has happened.’
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