Paul Zaidan trial | Cora Tsouflidou recounts the call of the kidnapper of her son

by time news

“There are instructions on the table. You are going to do exactly what is marked. ”When the man on the phone gives her this order, Cora Tsouflidou immediately understands that her son Nicholas has been kidnapped. “I was appallingly upset,” said the founder of the Chez Cora lunch restaurants on Wednesday at the trial of Paul Zaidan.

Louis-Samuel Perron

Louis-Samuel Perron

The 52-year-old ex-franchisee is accused of kidnapping and kidnapping Nicholas Tsouflidis on March 8, 2017, and of having extorted his mother Cora Tsouflidou by demanding a ransom of $ 11 million. The role played by Paul Zaidan remains unclear, however, as the Crown has “no direct evidence” in his regard.

First witness in the trial, Nicholas Tsouflidis finally concluded his testimony on Wednesday afternoon, after five days on the stand, including a grueling three-day cross-examination where the defense tried to demonstrate that the CEO of Chez Cora had invented, even orchestrated, its kidnapping by members of the “Lebanese Mafia”.


Paul Zaidan, ex-franchisee of Chez Cora, is accused of kidnapping and kidnapping Nicholas Tsouflidis on March 8, 2017

Her mother, Cora Mussely Tsouflidou, presented herself to the jury as a “retiree”, while specifying that she remains “artistic director” of her channel. At 74, she continues to approve every new dish on the menu, she says.

According to her account, on the evening of March 8, 2017, she was woken up by two police officers knocking on her window. These vaguely evoke danger, but are sparse with details. She suddenly receives a “very threatening” call. As in the “detective movies”, he is ordered to go to his son Nicholas and do “exactly” what is written on the letter.

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According to the lawsuit theory, the kidnappers claimed in this letter 11 million to Tsouflidou, payable over three days. The email address in the document is said to be associated with Paul Zaidan, the Crown argues.

In a second call, the man tells him not to contact the police. Never during these calls, there is question of a ransom, according to his testimony.

The kidnapper’s voice was not that of a Quebecer, but rather of a “foreigner”, testified Cora Tsouflidou. “I come from the Gaspé, so I know what a Quebecker is,” she said. According to the defense, during the preliminary investigation, it would have specified that it could be the voice of a “black individual”.

In cross-examination, Mr.e Christopher Lerhe-Mediati has long questioned Tsouflidou on the dividends paid to his three children. The defense argues that his eldest son, Theoharis, alias Harry, would have received only $ 50,000 instead of $ 200,000 before the kidnapping. But the septuagenarian no longer remembered the exact amounts paid at the time.

This is because her son Theoharis, whom she describes as the “artist” of the family, often “begged” for money since his return from Greece in 2016. He was then experiencing “consumption” problems, explained Cora Tsouflidou. Thus, at the time of the abduction, she was no longer in contact with her other son.

His cross-examination continues Thursday at the Laval courthouse. Crown Attorneys Me Sarah Beaudry-Leclerc and Me Karine Dalphond plan to present around forty witnesses.

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