Friday, November 19, 2010

Copé Quits Gide and Other Legal News

All good (and lucrative) things must come to an end: Jean-François Copé, recently anointed head of the UMP by Nicolas Sarkozy, has quit his affiliation with the law firm Gide-Loyrette-Nouel, which seemed to many people, including me, to constitute a conflict of interest with his political role (though, to be sure, such conflicts are neither rare nor illegal in France). He will continue to act as an unaffiliated private attorney, however--a role that bears watching. Frédéric Lefebvre has also quit his lawyering.

Perhaps a sudden and sobering wave of virtue has suddenly swept the UMP, but it looks to me more like an edict from on high. Caesar's wife is above suspicion, it goes without saying--although she is an "intelligent" woman, dixit Caesar himself, as though there were something oxymoronic about this--but Caesar's cronies are to be scrubbed with the savonnette à vilain that will retroactively wipe away any past sins as the election campaign approaches. And those who can't be scrubbed can be jettisoned: ask M. Woerth.

Meanwhile, David Sénat, the former MAM aide who has now been "reassigned" to Cayenne (O! the cruelty of the postmodern state! instead of imprisoning its enemies in a penal colony, it assigns them to work in the penal colony's bureaucracy!), has himself assigné Brice Hortefeux (if I may indulge in a bilingual pun) for atteinte à la présomption d'innocence, a lovely legal concept, which I suppose might apply to anyone who so much as hinted that Copé's or Lefebvre's legal activities might in any way have constituted a conflict of interest that was anything but legal. So let me make it clear that I believe that both are, if not as pure as the driven snow, then at least as slick as a Parisian gutter after its morning wash by the éboueurs de la Ville.

There remains, however, the troubling business of the Karachi rétrocommissions: Charles Millon, former defense minister, has confirmed their existence (un secret de Polichinelle, bien sûr), and now we wait for the next shoe to drop. The lifting of the secret défense in this case--now called for by various aggrieved parties--would no doubt prove embarrassing to all sorts of people formerly or still in high places. And what a made-for-TV movie that would make!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

What would the "next shoe" be? Confirmation of a Sarkozy involvement? No matter what the French president is protected, so...

Another scandal erupting: Mediator. The company that sold that drug is owned by a RPR benefactor who lives in Neuilly, which may explain why the drug was banned everywhere except France. (Apparently it never got FDA approval.) A protracted battle between a doctor and the pharmaceutical company finally resulted in its being banned in France, too. In the meanwhile, at least 500 people had died directly from it, probably more.

Besson is an all-around bad guy, at least in every way the uncouth cad: talking about very pretty,extremely smart colleague Nathalie Koziusco Morizet, aka NKM, he stated in a public meeting "I bet you thought you'd see NKM inthe flesh (in French: in flesh and bones), actually for NKM, mostly in bones.." This from the guy who, being in charge of digital economy matters, hadn't even thought of asking for a DSK connection.
http://www.leparisien.fr/montpellier-34000/numerique-la-france-ne-doit-pas-se-laisser-distancer-eric-besson-18-11-2010-1156125.php
Picture: http://www.starwizz.com/wp-content/uploads/M/NKM.gif

Anonymous said...

*DSL connection
(wondering if it's a typo or something related to the actual guy :p)

Anonymous said...

I summarize: Devedjian attacks Sarkozy, Ex-MAM chief of staff sent to Cayenne sues Hortefeux, the Karachi kids sue Chirac and Villepin and ask Sarkozy to come testify... things aren't going the way they were supposed to after the reshuffle.
I think Art is right in that a great movie is in the making.
Who'd you cast?
MYOS

FrédéricLN said...

"a conflict of interest that was anything but legal."

Er, there is a point here. Conflicts of interests are just situations where you can be, they are not illegal by themselves in France; but that is the very situation in which you can commit a "prise illégale d'intérêts".

So, you can openly criticize anyone for being in a situation of "conflits d'intérêts", a far as you don't suggest any wrongdoing in the way they managed that…

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Lifting the "secret défense" (as agreed by the Commission in charge, in June 2010 as far as I remember) should not hurt MM. Chirac or Villepin in any way, imho.

If the (quite likely) current hypothesis on the Karachigate proved true (the 2002 bomb as a retaliation for non-payment of corruption money), the criminals would be people connected with the corruption pact Mr Chirac stopped - to be sure, they may rather be Mr Chirac's enemies, than his friends.

Anonymous said...

FrédéricLN: so, you're saying that Chirac and Villepin paying kickbacks is okay because it was legal, however it became illegal so they stopped it. So they're "clean" legally-wise. But in that process someone else got money kicked back to them (hidden pork, kinda) and when the legal money stopped, the illegal $$ stopped along with it, so no more kickbacks in Pakistan but also no more kickbacks for Balladur and his cronies (but was Balladur essentially dead in the 2000's?)
So essentially only the hidden kickback are the problem and whoever handled them is at fault?
MYOS

Anonymous said...

http://www.lepost.fr/article/2010/11/20/2311529_claude-gueant-essaye-d-eteindre-le-feu-qui-se-propage-a-l-elysee-apres-les-declarations-de-dominique-de-villepin.html

Anonymous said...

More on the "troubling business of the Karachi rétrocommissions" (backkickbacks? How would you translate that?)
http://tinyurl.com/282bt54

Anonymous said...

One more paper is ramsacked and journalist computers stolen: Rue89
http://www.rue89.com/making-of/2010/11/21/rue89-cambriole-une-vingtaine-dordinateurs-voles-176930

FrédéricLN said...

@ MYOS : no; my point is about "conflits of interests". In French at least, "conflit d'intérêt" means a situation where a person has two assignments A and B which are overlapping: decisions the person may take as A may undermine B.

See http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflit_d'intérêts

It seems that the meaning in English is quite the same : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_of_interest

Being in such a situation does not imply paying anything to anybody ;-)

-----

The point with Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin is different. I'm not a lawyer and cannot confirm whether "frais commerciaux extraordinaires" were really legal at the time; I can also not confirm whether the 1995 decision by Jacques Chirac was linked, or not, with the idea that such payments might be illegal.

Anyway, nobody suspected so fat that Chirac or Villepin would have been beneficiaries of dirty money in the Agosta or Sawari II contracts; they were not owning any meaningful power (between 1988, when Jacques Chirac left Matignon, and 1995). The power on such State matters was shared from 1993 to 1995 between Edouard Balladur's and François Mitterrand's groups.

Anonymous said...

Thanks FrédéricLN.
Myos