Killer of Corsican official `escaped after spy tip-off'

THE MAN who murdered the most senior French official in Corsica escaped arrest because he was tipped off by the French equivalent of MI5. Who says so? The second most senior detective in France.

At least that is what the senior policeman appears to say in testimony to the French Senate that he thought was secret and which the Senate promptly published.

The detective, Roger Marion, formerly head of an anti- terror squad on the troubled and troublesome island, now denies that he said - or meant - any such thing. His words are, however, recorded on tape.

The father of the wanted man, himself a former Socialist MP and senior government adviser on Corsican affairs, says that his son, Yvan Colonna, still on the run, was tipped off by no one.

The powerful French Interior Minister, Jean-Pierre Chevenement, is in trouble because it was he who insisted on promoting the widely disliked Mr Marion to one of the senior police jobs in France earlier this year. His protege - Un grand flic (great cop), according to Mr Chevenement - is now guilty of either (a) lying to the Senate or (b) failing to report a police crime. Everyone, on right and left, on the island, and on the mainland, is screaming at - and calling for legal action against - everyone else.

Even by the standards of normal Franco-Corsican relations - something like Alice in Wonderland, with plastic explosives - this is a baffling and disturbing tale. Why should the Renseignements Generaux (RG), the French police agency that monitors internal security, tip off the presumed murderer of the Prefect of Corsica?

If they did not, why did Mr Marion tell a Senate commission of inquiry that they did? Why did he give a different account to a parallel inquiry by the National Assembly?

Two damning reports, presented separately by the Senate and Assembly inquiries this week, offer a range of possible explanations. The investigations followed the assassination of Prefect Claude Erignac in February last year and the arrest of his successor, Prefect Bernard Bonnet, for ordering the fire-bombing of an illegal beach restaurant in April.

The parliamentary reports say that a civil war has been raging for years between four different police forces in Corsica, the police, the gendarmerie, a special terrorist unit and the RG. At least two of these forces, the police and local elements of the RG, are suspected to have links with the extremist nationalist movements in Corsica and the mafia-like groups from which they can scarcely be distinguished.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee