Thursday, December 7

France’s Justice Minister to be tried in conflict of interest case

An unprecedented event in the history of the French Fifth Republic. The Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Morettiwill sit in the dock for a case of “illegal conflict of interest”. This was decided this Monday morning by the magistrates of the investigation commission. In a statement they confirmed that this member of the Executive will be tried by the Court of Justice of the Republic, an exceptional court that is in charge of the processes of the presumed crimes committed by ministers during the exercise of their functions.

East affair weakens one of the strong men of the Government of Emmanuel Macron. However, the accused has reiterated on numerous occasions that he will not resign, except if asked by the president or the prime minister, Elizabeth Borne. It is the first time in contemporary history of France that a Minister of Justice is imputed and must be tried during the exercise of his functions.

Sarkozy’s shadow

The Justice investigates the minister of the branch for allegedly having taken advantage of his position to resolve pending accounts with judges with whom he had clashed in the past. Before his appointment to the Government in July 2020, Dupond-Moretti was one of the lawyers more media in France. So, his appointment had already generated great discomfort within the judiciary. A few weeks later, between July and September, he ordered a series of administrative investigations against judges those he had faced in the past when he was practicing as a defense attorney. The prosecution considers that this was a conflict of interest crime, while Dupond-Moretti defends himself by ensuring that he only applied decisions recommended by his administration.

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Among the judges he asked to investigate, there were three magistrates from the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office. those judges anti-corruption they had asked to examine Dupond-Moretti’s telephone bills when he defended the former president Nicholas Sarkozy In one of his many cases of corruption.

The minister also ordered an administrative investigation, a preliminary measure to a disciplinary process, against Judge Edouard Levreult. The latter was investigating a scandal scams in the sale of works of art on the Côte d’Azur, in which an accused local police officer was defended by Dupond-Moretti. Officially launched with the intention of examining allegedly abusive practices by judges, these investigations did not lead to much. And they ended up turning against the minister.

A crime punishable by 5 years in prison

The crime of illegal conflict of interest can be punished with a sentence of five years of prison and one penalty fee of 500,000 euros, in addition to the disqualification. His probable trial will not take place until next year. The Court of Justice of the Republic is a tribunal composed basically of deputies. It has a reputation for pronouncing fairly mild sentences, although this could change with the arrival of new members from France Insumisa (related to Podemos) and the National Regrouping (extreme right), which could hinder the favors and secret agreements that are granted. produced in other affair.

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Investigated since 2021 for this case, Dupond-Moretti refuses to resign, despite the uniqueness of his case: it is investigated by the same judicial administration that he directs. “I have always said that my legitimacy depends on the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister and only on them,” he declared last week. So far, Macron has backed him and ruled out his resignation.

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In recent years, the centrist leader has maintained a certain variable geometry in the face of multiple affair that affected his government. While some heavyweights of macronismo resigned from their positions for apparently minor matters – the former Minister of Ecological Transition, François de Rugy, resigned for having paid with public money for ostentatious private dinners – others remained despite allegedly being involved in more serious cases. . This has happened with Dupond-Moretti or with Alexis Kohler, the president’s right-hand man in the Elysium, currently under investigation for a conflict of interest. Macron’s initial promise to regenerate and moralize politics has remained half-hearted.

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