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
With his blonde highlights catching the sun and a beautiful woman young enough to be his daughter on his arm, there’s no doubt that Gérald Marie is still living his best life.
Whether it’s in his palatial home in his native France, or his spectacular villa on the Spanish island of Ibiza, the retired multi-millionaire fashion executive seems to have it all.
He travels by private jet and chauffeured limousines, eats in the best restaurants and favors custom-made clothes from Smalto, the exclusive Parisian tailors.
The flamboyant 73-year-old even has a seemingly rock-solid marriage to Russian supermodel Irina Bondarenko, 46 – something that seems questionable given the sulphurous accusations leveled against him.
Not only is Mr. Marie accused of sex crimes, including rape, by numerous well-known models from his days at the world-famous Elite agency, but he also becomes embroiled in Jill Dando’s murder investigation.
Retired multi-millionaire fashion boss Gérald Marie (pictured left with wife, Russian supermodel Irina Bondarenko) is still living his best life
Gérald Marie (left) with his first wife, Canadian supermodel Linda Evangelista (right), now 58, who said last week that he abused her during their five-year marriage, which ended in divorce in 1993
Mr Marie has become embroiled in the murder investigation of Jill Dando (pictured).
Explosive legal papers filed in Paris allege a bungling hitman killed the BBC star in London in 1999 rather than a lesser-known journalist who threatened to expose allegations that Mr Marie was a serial abuser.
This was when Mr Maire was still president of Elite’s European division, while representing household names including Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford.
Before considering the strength of such claims – which can be freely reported 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 told Mail Online this week that there is currently no prospect of testing the claims before a judge and jury.
They launched 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 countrywoman Jill Dodd, 62, accuse Mr Marie of raping them, while Swede Ebba Karlsson, 53, claims Mr Marie sexually assaulted her in his office in Paris when she was 20.
Even Marie’s first wife, Canadian supermodel Linda Evangelista, now 58, said last week that 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 allegations against Marie were too late because they allegedly occurred in the 1980s and 1990s.
France’s strict statute of limitations means that the rape or sexual assault of an adult must be prosecuted within 20 years, while for minors the limit is 30 years.
Former BBC journalist Lisa Brinkworth, 55, thought she could beat the time limit based on compelling new evidence, and this is where the Jill Dando link comes into play.
Ms. Brinkworth filed a detailed complaint in Paris three years ago, alleging that Mr. Marie sexually assaulted her on Oct. 5, 1998, while she was posing as a model as part of an investigation into agents like Mr. Marie.
After the program MacIntyre Investigates, hosted by Donal MacIntyre, aired in Britain, Elite successfully sued for misrepresentation.
A once confidential agreement saw the BBC pay £1.7 million in damages and never broadcast the documentary again.
But decades later, when as many as 15 women came forward to denounce Mr. Marie, Ms. Brinkworth filed her own complaint.
Her Paris lawyers are now referring to a conversation witnessed by a former Elite executive in which Mr Marie is said to have ordered a member of the Russian mafia to ‘address a problem’.
Pictured above: Mrs Dando at the front door of her Fulham home
Netflix’s upcoming documentary ‘Who Killed Jill Dando’ has sparked speculation about the murder of TV host Jill Dando
Legal papers filed by Paris firm Bourdon & Associates said: ‘Shortly afterwards… 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 blond with similar facial features and had the same height and build.
“They lived close to each other and had people in common, including Jill Dando’s (partner).”
Ms Dando was engaged to gynecologist Alan Farthing, and Ms Brinkworth happened to be one of his former patients.
In their filing sent to prosecutors, lawyers William Bourdon, Amélie Lefebvre and Anne-Claire Lejeune refer to “the fear of physical reprisals, which can even go as far as contract killing, which prevents Lisa Brinkworth from filing a complaint within the required time period ,’ which accuses Gérald Marie of sexual assault in the context of her report.’
The lawyers add: ‘They are therefore asking, in an unprecedented manner, for an extension of the statute of limitations, paving the way for a future trial.’
A new Netflix series about the unsolved murder of Ms Dando, which Crimewatch presented, also rehearses the theory of mistaken identity – a theory that a lawyer representing Mr Marie has described as “fanciful nonsense”.
He said that at the time Mr Marie was already in a serious relationship with Ms Bondarenko, whom he married in 2000 in a glittering ceremony at a castle near Paris.
They had a daughter soon afterwards – Mr Marie’s second child – and he became a devoted family man who was “more interested in watching rugby than hanging out with young models”, the lawyer said.
There was a cocaine scandal at Elite in the early 2000s, in which employees were arrested following a raid on the agency’s Paris headquarters, but Mr. Marie was simply interrogated and then acquitted.
He left Elite in 2011 and became director of another agency, Oui Management, where he remained until 2020.
In an interview with Spanish news channel Noudiari a year later from his villa in Ibiza, Mr Marie (pictured) blamed his legal ordeal on the global #MeToo movement, which has targeted sex abusers such as ex-Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who has now been convicted. rapist, in court
Mr Marie, 73, even has a seemingly rock-solid marriage to Russian supermodel Irina Bondarenko (pictured), 46
In an interview with Spanish news channel Noudiari a year later from his villa in Ibiza, Mr. Marie blamed his legal ordeal on the global #MeToo movement, which has targeted sex abusers such as former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, now a convicted rapist. brought to justice. .
“Me Too promotes destruction without evidence,” Mr. Marie said, adding: “It is not normal for these allegations to appear thirty-five or forty years later than when they are alleged to have occurred.
‘It doesn’t make any sense, apart from people causing harm or seeking some kind of benefit. If someone finds themselves in a situation explained by these models, it is common and logical for him or her to report it immediately, not more than thirty years later, as happened.”