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
Lobbying : Declaration obligations of interest representatives in France
14 July 2022
Lobbying: Declaration obligations of interest representatives in France
Highlight on the disclosure obligations imposed on interest representatives in France, as provided for by Law 2013-907 of October 11, 2013, as amended by Law 2016-1691 of...
Publication
The Guide to Sanctions -GIR (2022)
10 July 2022
The Guide to Sanctions (2022) – GIR
Navacelle co-author of the third edition of the Global Investigation Review's Guide to Sanctions.
Press review
2 December 2022
Press review – Week of 28 November 2022
In this press review, you will discover several important judicial events: the French Supreme Court clarified the status of victim of an act of terrorism and the compensa...
Press review
Week of 21 November 2022
25 November 2022
Press review – Week of 21 November 2022
In this press review, you will discover the opening of a preliminary investigation by the French National Financial Prosecutor’s Office for misappropriation of public f...
Event
Ifaci demain en main - vignette
24 November 2022
Roundtable – Allegations – Investigations : The edges of tomorrow
Stéphane de Navacelle will participate in IFACI's annual conference: "Demain en mains" on the theme "Allegations - Investigations : The edges of tomorrow ", Monday 28 No...
Analysis
23 November 2022
The CJEU limits generalized data retention in surveillance
On 20 September 2022, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued two rulings concerning the conditions under which member states are allowed to retain traffic data...
Analysis
21 November 2022
Judicial Agreement of Public Interest for aggravated tax fraud laundering and illegal canvassing
Credit Suisse escapes prosecution and agrees to pay a public interest fine of 123,000,000 euros under the 13th deferred prosecution agreement concluded by the National an...
Press review
Week of 14 November 2022
18 November 2022
Press review – Week of 14 November 2022
In this press review, you will find three significant events: the first conviction in France of a former Liberian rebel leader by the Paris criminal Court; the sanction o...
Analysis
Autorité de la concurrence - Google
18 November 2022
Recent sanctions against Google by the French Competition Authority: ad servers and related rights
In 2021, the French Competition Authority imposed several fines on Google for anti-competitive practices related, on the one hand, to the remuneration of the related righ...
Event
17 November 2022
Identification of the contractual actors of Compliance
Julie Zorrilla participated in the Colloque "Contract and compliance: the actors and their strategies" at the University of Nîmes.
Analysis
17 November 2022
The cumulation of criminal and administrative sanctions in tax fraud
The judges of the Court of Cassation recently ruled on the cumulation of criminal and fiscal sanctions in tax fraud cases. This decision confirms the case law which permi...
Event
16 November 2022
Cambridge Forum: Mutual legal assistance has gone rogue!
Why bother with MLATs when local law is global and prosecutors trade information on WhatsApp ?
Press review
Week of 7 November 2022
14 November 2022
Press review – Week of 7 November 2022
In this press review, you will find clarifications from the Court of Cassation on the legality of an extradition of an EU national to another Member State, even in the ab...
Event
9 November 2022
Webinar: A comparative approach to professional secrecy and attorney-client privilege in criminal proceedings
Stéphane de Navacelle spokes at the Mondaq and Monfrini Bitton Klein webinar on "professional secrecy and attorney-client privilege in criminal proceedings".