Naomi Campbell takes conman to Cannes

( www.marieclaire.co.uk ) - With previous scrapes with the law and a furore at Heathrow airport fresh in our memory, it seems Naomi Campbell enjoys courting controversy - and the model was at the centre of fevered gossip again last night as she took a convicted con artist as her date to Cannes.

The star turned up at the Cannes Film Festival looking angelic in a sequin-sprinkled Dolce & Gabbana gown, but the man on her arm belied her heavenly appearance. Her date? Christophe Rocancourt - a French-born imposter who conned affluent investors out of hundreds of thousands of pounds by using various aliases.

His outrageous cons have seen him pretend to be the son of Hollywood legend Sophia Loren, and a Gallic relative of the American society family Rockefeller.

After moving to America at 24, he befriended martial arts star Jean-Claude Van Damme and lived with Mickey Rourke.

In 2001, Christophe and his now ex-wife, former Playboy model Pia Reyes, were arrested in Canada and charged with defrauding an elderly couple. Pia was later released without charge after pleading her innocence with the scam.

The following year, Christophe was extradited to New York where he pled guilty to three of 11 different charges including theft, grand larceny, smuggling, bribery and perjury.

He was accused of defrauding a total of 19 people. He admitted three counts of fraud to avoid the maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. He was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay back his victims $1.2 million each.

After 'finding God' in prison, Christophe proclaims he has learned from his mistakes and is currently in talks to make a Hollywood movie of his biography entitled I, Christophe Rocancourt: Orphan, Playboy and Convict.

Naomi, meanwhile, was banned from British Airways last month following allegations over a row about a lost bag, and her fiery temper has been well-documented.

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