A French court Tuesday sentenced a Lebanese businessman in absentia to eight years in prison over a high-end prostitution ring operating at the Cannes Film Festival that had ties to a slain son of Moammar Gadhafi.
The judge also slapped a 50,000 euro ($64,000) fine on Elie Nahas, a Lebanese who claimed to run a modeling agency employing young women recruited in South America, France and eastern Europe.
Prosecutor Damien Martinelli described Nahas as a "businessman dealing in prostitution" and had called for a 200,000 euro fine.
Nahas was also described as a guy Friday of Mutassim Gadhafi, one of the sons of the Libyan former leader.
Six men and a woman were on trial in the southern French port city of Marseille but the five chief figures -- including Nahas -- are on the run.
Nahas is accused of organizing a birthday bash for Mutassim Gadhafi in 2004 costing $1.5 million (1.1 million euros) with several stars and about 20 models in attendance.
Mutassim Gadhafi was killed with his father on October 20 last year. Investigators never questioned the son.
A Venezuelan named Felix Farias, who worked for a branch of Nahas' agency and caused a scandal in 2007 when he turned up at Paris airport with eight young women to attend the Cannes Film Festival, got a three-year jail sentence of which two were suspended.
The others got terms ranging from three to six years.
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