Analysis
14 July 2018

Clearstream case – an opportunity to detail some constituent elements of influence trafficking and corruptions

Bastille Day Newsletter 2018 - What’s Hot

 

The Clearstream case is a major political and financial scandal from the last decade which was closely linked with the Taiwan frigates case in the nineties.

Thomson-CSF along with the DCN (“Direction des constructions navales” – the Shipbuilding directorate) entered in business with the Taiwanese naval forces in 1989 in order to sell six military frigates. At first, the French President, François Mitterrand, was opposed to this deal on the advice of the Minister of foreign affairs, who wanted to preserve good relationships with China.

Between 1989 and 1991, many payments were offered to Chinese high-ranking officials, Taiwanese military officers and other French politicians for a total amount of 3 billion francs. But after a change of government in Taiwan, in 2001, bribes were exposed and Thomson sued before an arbitration tribunal which sentenced the French company to pay more than 1 billion dollars.

In 2004, this case came up again with the receipt by investigating magistrateVan Ruymbeke of a list of bank accounts (from the Luxembourgish bank Clearstream) whose owners were supposed to be linked with the bribes of the Taiwan Frigates. This document incriminated many French officials including Nicolas Sarkozy (minister of Economy at the time). Finally, the inquiry showed that this document was a fake with purpose of harming the people listed (mostly business men who were leading the arms market in France) and revealed the identity of the authors (Jean Louis Gergorin and Imad Lahoud) who were sent to jail on the ground of defamation.

Many protagonists were involved in these cases and only few are mentioned here.

However, a new judgment concerning the Clearstream case has been delivered by the French Supreme Court (‟Cour de Cassationˮ) on October 25, 20171. Indeed, two other protagonist of the Clearstream case were prosecuted for influence peddling the director of the DCN (at the time of the scandal, Gérard-Philippe Menayas) and a member of the DST (direction de la Surveillance du territoire – the internal intelligence service), also working as a business intelligence consultant. The director of the DCN had asked the consultant to use his influence toward the DST to get information about the content of the “Clearstream list”. This high Court decision concerned only the ex-director of the DCN (the other had not appealed the first instance judgment). He was convicted for active influence peddling by the first instance tribunal and court of appeal.

In its decision of October 25, 2017, the French Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Court of appeal considering that: “obtaining a document through an agent of the public administration does not amount to obtaining a favor from a public administration within the meaning of Article 433-2 of the Criminal Code, even if this document is not accessible to the public”.

According to case law, the favorable decision of the public authority must have been obtained by illegitimate means to characterize the influence peddling.

Related content

Analysis
Proposition Loi Gauvain
20 October 2021
Analysis of the bill to reinforce the fight against corruption by Deputy Gauvain
Navacelle team has examined the “Bill to reinforce the fight against corruption” which has just been submitted by the Deputy Raphaël Gauvain at the National Assembly...
Julie Zorrilla
Partner Navacelle
Alexandre Coudreau
Student Sciences Po
Salomé Garnier
Associate Navacelle
News
19 October 2021
New decision in the jurisprudential saga in the field of arbitration and corruption
Navacelle team would like to inform you of a new decision in the jurisprudential saga in the field of arbitration and corruption.
Salomé Garnier
Associate Navacelle
Events
14 October 2021
The French criminal procedural law
Thomas Lapierre, associate at Navacelle presents the main elements of the French criminal procedural law for #LAWYEREX by European Lawyers Foundation.
Thomas Lapierre
Associate Navacelle
News
5 October 2021
Report of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the French Church
After two and a half years of work, the CIASE has submitted its report with the aim of understanding and analysing situations of sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Fr...
Events
29 September 2021
Paris Legal Makers 2021
The first Paris Legal Makers conference dedicated to economic development through law will take place on 6 December 2021 at the Palais Brongniart.
News
27 September 2021
Update of French Financial Market Regulator (AMF) of its control charters (in French)
This update specifies the procedures for carrying out control missions, the principles of good conduct followed by those in charge of a control as well as the behavior ex...
News
27 September 2021
Update of French Financial Market Regulator (AMF) of its investigation charters (in French)
This update specifies the procedures for carrying out investigation missions, the principles of good conduct followed by those in charge of an investigation as well as th...
News
16 September 2021
The French DPA (“Convention judiciaire d’intérêt public”) on the way to simplification
On 4 August 2021, a new Decree was promulgated aiming to simplify formalities required for the conclusion of the CJIP between Public Prosecutors Office and the legal pers...
Julie Zorrilla
Partner Navacelle
Louis Beltaire
Trainee lawyer
Alexandre Desevedavy
Trainee lawyer
Salomé Garnier
Associate Navacelle
Publication
3 September 2021
The European Parliament Lays the Foundations of a Corporate Due Diligence and Corporate Accountability
Julie Zorrilla, Thomas Lapierre and Stéphane de Navacelle, highlight for the International Bar Association anticorrpution news, the adoption on 10 March 2021 by the Memb...
Stéphane de Navacelle
Managing partner Navacelle
Julie Zorrilla
Partner Navacelle
Thomas Lapierre
Associate Navacelle
Publication
20 August 2021
It’s not an “ego fight”: The do’s and don’ts of monitorships
Experts from around the world discuss what authorities, companies and monitors should do to ensure that a period of compliance oversight ends successfully. “the quality...
Julie Zorrilla
Partner Navacelle
Adam Dobrik
Journalist
Analysis
14 July 2021
The in-house attorney status in France: a bygone idea or an emerging one?
Bastille Day Newsletter 2021 - Legislative, Regulatory & Policy Updates
Publication
14 July 2021
Bastille Day Newsletter 2021
Happy 2021 Bastille Day! Lawyers at Navacelle thought you might be interested in reviewing a selection we made of noticeable events which occurred in France in the fiel...
Stéphane de Navacelle
Managing partner Navacelle
Julie Zorrilla
Partner Navacelle
Clémentine Duverne
Partner Navacelle