Man pleads guilty in kidnapping of Cora breakfast chain owner
A man accused in the kidnapping of Nicholas Tsouflidis, president of the Cora breakfast chain, has pleaded guilty.
In March of 2017, three masked men abducted Tsouflidis from his home in Mirabel, Que., and forced him into the trunk of a car. He was then taken to a home in Laval.
According to the Crown prosecutors, the captors demanded an $11-million ransom from the victim's mother that night.
After being held hostage for more than eight hours, Tsouflidis was found by passersby in a ditch along Champagne Road in Laval,.
Paul Zaidan, a former Cora franchise owner, was arrested by Quebec provincial police a year and a half after later. In September 2018, Zaidan pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including kidnapping, extortion and uttering threats.
Last year, his case ended in a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision. The Crown pursued a second trial.
On Friday, Zaidan pleaded guilty, agreeing to a statement of facts presented in court.
According to those facts, Zaidan rented a residence under a false identity where Tsouflidis was held captive, bought materials used in the confinement, created the email address used in the ransom letter and rented the car used in the kidnapping.
Zaidan was handed a suspended sentence of two years less a day, meaning that he will not have a criminal record.
In a statement, Tsouflidis thanked the authorities for their work on the case.
"My family and I are relieved that this judicial process is over, reassured that the accused has declared himself guilty and happy to finally be able to put this ordeal behind us," he said.
Tsouflidis has been the president of the restaurant chain since 2008. His mother, Cora Tsouflidou, opened the first Cora location in Montreal in 1987.