Police linked to Sarkozy 'smeared' leftist colleagues
Senior officers accused of faking corruption charges which destroyed careers
John Lichfield has been The Independent's man in Paris since 1997, covering French news. Before that, he was the paper's Foreign Editor and he has also worked in Brussels and Washington. In 1999, he was the UK press Awards Foreign Reporter of the year.
Thursday 12 January 2012
Leading French police officers close to President Nicolas Sarkozy were accused yesterday of smearing senior colleagues suspected of left-wing sympathies.
According to the newspaper Le Monde, some of the most senior police officers in France have been questioned by examining magistrates after allegations of corruption brought against colleagues in 2007 turned out to have been manipulated or faked.
One of the officers questioned is the Paris police chief, Michel Gaudin, a close associate of Mr Sarkozy for many years. Others include the leader of the police squad that investigates alleged police wrongdoing.
Six independent, judicial investigations have been launched, according to Le Monde, into false allegations of corruption which destroyed the careers of five officers, including three senior police officers who were known or suspected to have political sympathies for the centre-left.
Criminal charges brought against four of the officers – for allegedly taking bribes to issue residence papers for rich foreigners – were thrown out as baseless last year.
The fifth, Yannick Blanc, once one of the most senior officers in France, was forced out of the police but never accused of a crime.
According to Le Monde, independent investigators now believe that the case against the three men and two women was built on faked witness statements and heavily edited transcripts of phone taps. The newspaper described the fake corruption investigation as an "unprecedented scandal" for a French police service facing two other inquiries into allegations of wrongdoing at senior levels.
The Paris police headquarters accused Le Monde of making "unfounded allegations" and said it would take the "appropriate legal action".
The main target of the alleged manipulation is said to have been Mr Blanc. In 2007 he was head of the general police service, which handles applications for residence permits, driving licences and other documents. Mr Sarkozy, then the Interior Minister and a presidential candidate, is said to have been incensed when Mr Blanc publicly contradicted his campaign claims about illegal immigration.
Mr Blanc was also one of the few senior police officers to declare his support for the Socialist candidate, Ségolène Royal.
The ex-police officer, who now works for the Socialist president of the greater Paris region, yesterday confirmed the broad outlines of Le Monde's story. "I have no proof that this was an organised political plot," Mr Blanc said.
- 1 Video shows how to turn your phone into a 3D hologram
- 2 Artist Jamie McCartney: How The Great Wall of Vagina is a stand against 'body fascism'
- 3 Katie Hopkins reveals fear she will die during brain surgery to cure epilepsy
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
RideLondon 2015: Cyclist dies while climbing highest hill in Surrey during sportive
Katie Hopkins reveals fear she will die during brain surgery to cure epilepsy
Tensions flare as Confederate flag supporter reaches for gun when confronted by protests – in pictures
'Gene drive': Scientists sound alarm over supercharged GM organisms which could spread in the wild and cause environmental disasters
Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic and interes...
£16224 - £20280 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Warehouse & Stores Supervisor...
£35000 - £39000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Lifting Equipment Service/Ins...