French centrist politician turned 'neo-Nazi' who plotted to storm Elysée Palace charged over 'coup'
A far-right conspiracy theorist has been charged after allegedly trying to recruit soldiers to overthrow the French government by seizing the presidential palace.
Rémy Daillet, 54, is accused along with 12 co-conspirators of terrorism after attempting to form an extremist group to plan a series of attacks against the state.
His lawyer claimed Daillet, a former centrist politician who has vowed to run for next year, is being held as a 'political prisoner'.
The Frenchman is already being prosecuted for allegedly orchestrating the abduction of an eight-year-old girl from her grandmother's house in eastern France.
The girl was found safe with her mother, who had lost custody, in Switzerland five days later.
During the search for the girl, anti-terrorism investigators realised that the abduction involved many people they had placed under surveillance for unrelated far-right extremism.
After the incident, French prosecutors issued an international warrant for Daillet who by then was living in Malaysia, the reported.
The former regional political leader, who was later expelled from his party, was deported for overstaying his visa and was arrested in June once he returned to his homeland.
He said at the time it was not 'a kidnapping, but rather the return of a child to her mother at her request'.
But his legal woes have since worsened after he was investigated over his alleged role in an alleged conspiracy network named Honour and Nation.
He is said to have used encrypted messages to build the shadowy group with dozens of members who promoted anti-vaxx and neo-Nazi propaganda in eastern France.
A judge charged Daillet, along with others in the group, with terrorist conspiracy last week.
They are accused of plotting attacks against vaccine centres, journalists and a masonic lodge.
One source said they were aiming for a 'coup d'état'.
But Daillet's lawyer said he called only for the peaceful end to the political system and retained his faith in French justice despite the charges against him.
BFM TV said former soldiers had been tasked with training recruits for an ambitious plot to storm the Elysée Palace, the residence of Emmanuel Macron.
They then planned to seize French parliament before capturing a radio or TV channel to spread their message.
In a YouTube video published last year, Daillet said: 'I have decided to take power in France, to restore this country, to give you your freedom.'