A French businessman who spent two months in a Spanish prison before authorities discovered his shipment of “cocaine” was actually soap was awarded $9,172.
Jacques Benoit Fiocconi, a cosmetics entrepreneur from Corsica, was arrested in Catalonia, Spain, in November 2012 while driving a van loaded with soap. He was with his father, Laurent Fiocconi, a former drug trafficker with ties to infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.
The 2,850 bars of soap had been purchased from a factory in Figueres, Spain, but a field test performed by a Spanish Civil Guard patrol tested positive for cocaine.
A December 14 report by the Spanish National Institute of Toxicology determined there was no cocaine in the soap shipment, but it was seven more weeks before a court accepted the report and freed Jacques Benoit Fiocconi.
Laurent Fiocconi remained in custody as part of a probe into alleged drug trafficking linked to French and Spanish criminal gangs.
Jacques Fiocconi sought $90,643 from the Ministry of Justice to cover financial losses and moral damages from his two months in jail, but the ministry ended up paying him only $9,172. The ministry said it paid a “standard rate” of $131 per day he spent behind bars.