How a child's kidnapping shone a light on an alleged plot to topple the French government

Rémy Daillet-Weidemann (center) is accused of "setting up a hierarchical structure whose objective was to overthrow the government," according to intelligence officials. He denies the allegations.

Paris (CNN)Armed with homemade explosives, fueled by conspiracy theories and fermented during the pandemic, ​French authorities say "The Overthrow" was a potentially dangerous creation.

According to documents seen by CNN from the DGSI, France's internal intelligence agency, the group was a far-right network with diverse ideological roots but a single unifying aim: To topple the French government.
The DGSI alleges that the mastermind behind the group was Rémy Daillet-Weidemann, a former regional councillor in France, who was "setting up a hierarchical structure whose objective was to overthrow the government" and attack the head of state.
    The alleged coup d'etat plot -- nicknamed "Operation Azur" by its members, according to French news magazine Le Parisien -- was first reported by the magazine's Jérémie Pham-Lê on October 27.
      CNN reached out to the interior ministry for comment but has received no reply.
      The alleged coup ​plan never came to fruition. French security services ​said they shut it down before the plotters could act. ​
      In October, Daillet-Weidemann was placed under formal investigation by French authorities -- alongside 13 others -- for ​allegedly planning violent actions, "association with terrorist wrongdoers" and "provoking a terrorist act by a third party through public telecommunications," according to his lawyer Jean-Christope Basson-Larbi.
        Basson-Larbi told CNN his client had "never proposed anything other than a peaceful overthrow -- that is to say without violence and popularly supported, that's to say with the support of the majority of the French population -- of the current political regime."
        The lawyer said "Operation Azur" was the product of "fantasies" that were not those of his client, and of which Daillet-Weidemann had no knowledge. Daillet-Weidemann is still in custody.
        The DGSI report stated that Daillet-Weidemann, who ​allegedly "envisages the use of violent action" to enact the coup d'etat, recruited members and exercised command over the cells in his network, including at least two men who planned to manufacture explosives.
        "The discovery of arms, munitions, hit lists [and] explosive recipes had nothing to do with Mr. Daillet," who was living in Malaysia at the time, Basson-Larbi added. He said his client was not responsible for the "potentially criminal or violent" projects of individuals who "invoke certain of [Daillet-Weidemann's] ideas or pretend to have been part of his movement or claim to adhere to his political ideas."

        Kidnapping case

        In June, Daillet-Weidemann was placed under formal investigation -- along with 10 others -- over the kidnapping of an eight-year-old girl, Mia, who went missing from her grandmother's house in mid-April 2021, according to documents from the Nancy prosecutor.
        Prosecutors allege that members of Daillet's network, The Overthrow, abducted the child before fleeing to Switzerland in a "military-type operation" on behalf of her mother, Lola Montemaggi.
        At the time she was kidnapped, Mia was being cared for by her grandmother, after her mother lost custody.
        The ​child's custody with her grandmother was anathema to Daillet-Weidemann who promoted "the idea that actions should be taken to return children [in care] ... to their parents," according to French prosecutor François Perain.
        Mia was found with her mother Lola Montemaggi in Sainte-Croix, Switzerland.
        Mia was found safe in Switzerland -- with her mother -- five days after she was taken, according to the Nancy prosecutor.
        Lola Montemaggi was placed under formal investigation for her alleged ​role in the kidnap plot and kept in pre-trial detention for several months; she was released in October, according to the Nancy prosecutor. The legal case is ongoing.
        "She was a mother who was alone, who was lost, who once again had the impression that the jus