03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Thierry Tilly, Oxford-Based 'Guru,' Accused Of Torturing French Aristocrats

By John Lichfield, The Independent

To his followers in a large suburban Oxford house, Thierry Tilly is a "super-man" - a secret agent for a centuries-old, Da Vinci Code-style, secret society, sworn to protect the world from evil.

French investigators, though, take a different view. To them, he is a vulgar - and violent - con-artist, who has used brain-washing techniques and even torture to rob three generations of a wealthy French family.

Mr Tilly, 45, is now in custody in south-western France. He is accused of using "acts of torture and barbarism" to persuade 11 members of the aristocratic Védrines clan to hand over furniture, jewellery, paintings and property worth €3m (£2.7m) over the last eight years.

Read more at The Independent.

Get HuffPost World On Facebook and Twitter!