“You cannot be considered in the press as a whistleblower when you are a stalker.” Magali Berdah did not mince her words, Wednesday, September 14, during a press conference relayed by many media, including The Parisian. Without ever naming him, the agent of reality TV influencers targeted Booba. She filed a complaint against the rapper and against X in May for cyberbullying. An investigation is underway. The self-proclaimed “Duke of Boulogne” has for several months launched into the denunciation of scams in the middle of influencers. Facts that are also under investigation. Franceinfo traces the thread of the remote conflict between the two personalities.
Act 1: influencer Marc Blata accuses Booba of wearing a fake watch
The controversy began in December 2021 when ex-reality TV candidate Marc Blata targeted Booba. Based in Dubai since 2019, he launched the rumor that the French rapper would have worn during a shoot a fake watch from the luxury watchmaker Richard Mille. The wick is lit. Stung, Booba replies, targeting the influencer and his cryptocurrency and trading business. It is partly thanks to these activities that Marc Blata, and his wife Nadé, also an influencer, ensure a comfortable lifestyle under the palm trees of Dubai.
On his Twitter account, the rapper challenges other influencers like Dylan Thiry or Maeva Ghennam, who have earned money through partnerships with “drop-shipping” sites. This system consists of selling more expensive products, often of poor quality, purchased on sites like Alibaba or AliExpress.
Act 2: Magali Berdah files a complaint against the rapper for harassment
One thing leading to another, Booba (Elie Yaffa of his real name) goes back to one of the “popesses” of this small virtual world: Magali Berdah. At the head of Shauna Events, a company created in 2016, the agent mediates between brands and reality TV muses, for a percentage on their bargains. The 40-year-old claims to be the victim of a cabal from the rapper and his fans on social networks. When she pushes the door of a police station to file a complaint on May 25, the columnist of “Touche pas à mon poste” mentions one of Booba’s tweets which set fire to the powder a few days earlier, according to her.
In this complaint, which the magazine “Complément d’Enquête” was able to consult, the businesswoman says she received “several hundred messages and death threats”some of which “anti-Semitic character”. Internet users go so far as to speak of “stoning” and of “beheading like Samuel Paty”, this teacher murdered by a terrorist in October 2020 in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines). His number and address are leaked online. The parquet opens immediately an investigation for “death threat, harassment by means of electronic communication, public insult on the grounds of origin and sex”, entrusted to the national center for the fight against online hatred.
Act 3: the “Duke of Boulogne” launches the hashtag #influvoleurs
Strengthened by its million subscribers on social networks, the rapper improvises himself as a whistleblower on the scams in vogue in the universe of Instagram influencers and consorts. On June 27, he launched the hashtag “#influvoleurs” and opens a mailbox of the same name. He thus collects dozens of testimonials. According to these messages, which “Complément d’Enquête” was also able to consult, these buyers claim, with supporting invoices, to have ordered items with promotional codes from influencers working for Shauna Events and to have never received a package or seen their money again, despite several follow-up emails. If however the product was delivered to them, it was a counterfeit produced in Asia.
Assisted by his lawyers, Booba filed two complaints, at the end of July, for “misleading commercial practices” and “organized gang fraud”. One targets Shauna Events and the other Marc Oceane Singainy Tevanin, aka Marc Blatafor its trading and cryptocurrency activities (NFT – non-fungible tokens). According to these complaints consulted by “Complément d’Enquête”, “it appears a complex and organized scam system, centralized by the company Shauna Events”a “system fed by the passivity of social networks and particularly Instagram and Snapchat, used by influencers to promote scams”.
Act 4: justice orders the deletion of the rapper’s Instagram account
With her lawyers, Magali Berdah obtains the closure of Booba’s Instagram account (@OKLM), as well as her Twitter account (@booba) temporarily. The rapper quickly opens a new Instagram account (@elieyaffaofficiel) and appeals to the judge in chambers to request the cancellation of the court decision. The Marseille criminal court must give its deliberation in this case on October 3.
“My client is in no way responsible for these facts and actions. And Mrs. Berdah, who sometimes takes some liberties with rigor, has never dared to claim the opposite and no one has ever attributed Booba the slightest anti-Semitic statement”reacts the artist’s lawyer, Patrick Klugman, in a press release.
Act 5: an investigation is opened into the practices of Shauna Events
The Grasse prosecutor’s office (Alpes-Maritimes) opens an investigation on September 6 after the complaint filed by Booba for “deceptive marketing practices”. The investigations, entrusted to the Antibes police station, where the company Shauna Events is registered, do not concern the facts of “organized gang scam” denounced by the rapper. “We are delighted to see that the elements denounced will give rise to an investigation”then confides one of Booba’s lawyers, Ivan Terel. The rapper’s other complaint, which targets Marc Blata, is forwarded to the Pontoise public prosecutor’s office, which has territorial jurisdiction.
Act 6: “I will not be silent”, launches Magali Berdah at a press conference
Two days after the broadcast on France 2 of the magazine “Complément d’Enquête” on the “scams” and the business influencers, Magali Berdah holds a press conference in Paris about the harassment of which she accuses Booba. “What is happening is very serious, it is happening in the eyes of all”, she says, without naming the rapper. “I cannot accept that (…) the fight to protect our children, our families, from the excesses of the internet (…) is entrusted to a person who stirs up hatred on the networks to this point”she adds, tears in her eyes. “Everyone will take their responsibilities. As far as I am concerned, I remain standing and I will not be silent”insists the boss of the company Shauna Events.
Present at his side, his lawyer Antonin Gravelin-Rodriguez lists the “over 100,000 posts” which would have targeted his client or her relatives, some of whom were of an anti-Semitic nature. The council refers to the ten complaints or additional complaints filed between May and August, which will, according to him, be further completed soon, for acts of “harassment”. He also mentions “five complaints” for other offences, including attempted extortion or assault on his client’s daughter. A press conference of which Booba did not miss a crumb and that the rapper mocked on social networks.