A Swiss trader says he was kidnapped and forced to buy $2.6 million of stock in a shell company owned by the alleged ringleader. Now he’s trying to get his money back.

People fire fireworks during clashes in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, in the northern suburbs of Paris, on April 20, 2020. - Tension with the police erupted again on the evening of April 20 in Villeneuve-la-Garenne near Paris, where a motorcycle accident involving the police had provoked the first clashes with residents two days before.
A car parked in the northern suburbs of Paris, on April 20, 2020. Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2015, what 63-year-old Yomi Rodrig thought was a quick meeting in a parking lot to explore opportunities at Goldman Sachs turned into a six-day nightmare during which he says he was held hostage, stolen from, and almost killed.

Bloomberg first reported the saga.

It was a Thursday evening in a suburb of Paris when the Swiss trader was meant to meet someone who worked for the investment bank, a meeting arranged by his acquaintance, Arnaud Mimran.

As Rodrig stepped out of his car, he said a man claiming to be Mimran’s driver approached him and asked him to get into a vehicle. Minutes after they drove off, the car stopped.

“All of a sudden, the two doors opened,” he said in court, Bloomberg reported. “Four people grabbed me in the car and said ‘French police.'”

He said the men, wearing ski masks, threw him into a van and ordered him to lie on the floor.

“They told me ‘you’re going to trade for the next 45 minutes. You have to buy about $16 million in shares via Morgan Stanley until New York trading ends,'” Rodrig recalled. “‘Do this and you’ll get out alive in an hour; if not, you’re dead.'”

Rodrig said he was ordered to buy shares in Cassidy Ventures, which at the time he did not know had been acquired by Mimran. The Swiss trader said he quickly called his broker in New York to buy six million shares at $2.60 each. Rodrig received a call back.

“They told me ‘Yomi, we can’t take the order because never in your whole life have you made such a bizarre trade, it doesn’t fit your profile,'” the Bloomberg article reported.

The kidnappers then resorted to making him buy just one million shares the next day, he said. Strangely, the alleged leader of his kidnapping, Sabir Titouh, was murdered days after the initial kidnapping.

With no one in charge, Rodrig was released.

“When they freed me they told me ‘you were programmed to be killed but you’re very lucky,'” the Bloomberg article reported.

The ‘trap’

The alleged kidnapping, according to Rodrig and French investigators, was actually a trap set by Mimran to extort the Swiss trader.

While Mimran did not deny setting up the meeting, he maintained he had nothing to do with the kidnapping. He also admitted to knowing Titouh.

Mimran, it turned out, needed cash. At that time, he was in debt to several friend and had also had his accounts seized, according to investigators.

The 49-year-old French socialite was used to a life of luxury as a former wealth manager. He even told the court he could spend roughly $600,000 a month.

He married the daughter of a multi-millionaire, hired American rapper P. Diddy for his son’s bar mitzvah, and socialized with the inner circle of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Rodrig, it is speculated, may have been a prime candidate for kidnapping due to his own personal wealth.

But according to the Swiss trader, while he was at one point worth around $96 million, he was worth around $11 million when he was kidnapped.

Now, years later, Rodrig’s lawyers said only around $760,000 of the $2.6 million of shares bought were recovered. Rodrig also said he now realized Cassidy is just an empty shell firm listed on a Canadian exchange.

Mimran, meanwhile, is currently in custody after being charged in April for the murders of his father-in-law as well as an accomplice in a fraud involving carbon credits.