Florent Goncalves, director of the women's prison of Versailles, reportedly told police he had "fallen in love" with an inmate serving nine years for her part in a kidnapping plot
The governor of a French prison is under investigation for allegedly having a sexual affair with a woman jailed for acting as bait in the kidnap and murder of a Jewish man in 2006.
Florent Goncalves, 41, who ran the Versailles women's prison, has admitted that he had "fallen in love" with inmate Emma Arbabzadeh, The Telegraph reported. Goncalves planned to build a life with her once she got out of prison, he told police.
Goncalves allegedly passed her packages containing money and phone SIM cards, as well as giving her easy prison duties. He and a prison warden also suspected of passing goods to Arbabzadeh have been suspended.
"She made [the two men] lose their senses," an investigator said, according to The Telegraph.
Arbabzadeh, 21, is serving a nine-year prison sentence for her part in the kidnap of Ilan Halimi, a 23-year old French Jew. Prosecutors said she charmed Halimi into meeting her for coffee after he finished work at a telephone shop in Paris, The Guardian said. A gang called "The Barbarians" then bundled him into the trunk of a car and drove him to an empty apartment.
The gang tortured Halimi for weeks and demanded a ransom. Arbabzadeh was promised about $6,676 for her part in the plot.
Halimi was eventually found naked and tied to a tree outside Paris. He died before reaching the hospital.
Arbabzadeh, who was born in Iran and immigrated to France at the age of 11, later wrote to the victim's family expressing her regret. "I suffer so much for having hurt you so much," Arbabzadeh wrote, according to The Guardian.
The case shook France, raising allegations of anti-Semitism among immigrant communities in the suburbs of Paris. The gang's leader was sentenced to life in prison. He insisted that he had not acted out of anti-Semitic hatred, but because he believed that a Jewish victim would mean a larger ransom.
Investigators said Goncalves' alleged relationship with Arbabzadeh took place between December 2009 and October 2010. It came to light during a routine prison inspection, BBC News reported. Other prisoners complained that Arbabzadeh received preferential treatment.
"The judge has forbidden [Goncalves] to exercise his profession and even enter a penitentiary," prosecutor Michel Desplan said.