At the end of a hearing of nearly six hours, the Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, was indicted on Friday July 16 for “illegal taking of interests”. A first for a keeper of the seals.

He had been summoned by the investigating committee of the Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR), the only judicial institution empowered to judge sitting ministers. Since January 13, she has been investigating several decisions taken by Mr. Dupond-Moretti after his arrival at the Chancellery. The latter is suspected of having taken advantage of his new functions to serve his former activities as a lawyer and settle accounts with magistrates.

“This indictment was clearly announced. (…) His explanations were unfortunately not enough to reverse this decision taken before the hearing. We will obviously [la] contest “, said one of the minister’s three lawyers, Mr.e Christophe Ingrain, who announced that he would file “A request for nullity”.

According to the penal code, the illegal taking of interests is “The fact, by a person holding public authority (…), to take, receive or retain, directly or indirectly, any interest whatsoever in a company or in an operation for which it is, at the time of the act, in whole or in part, responsible for ensuring the supervision, administration, liquidation or payment ‘. An offense punishable by five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 euros.

Degraded relations with magistrates’ unions

The CJR’s investigation was opened after the filing of several complaints by two magistrates’ unions – the Union Syndicale des Magistrates (USM) and the Syndicat de la magistrature (SM) – and the anti-corruption association Anticor.

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They considered that the Keeper of the Seals was guilty of illegal taking of interests by deciding, in September 2020, to open an administrative investigation against three magistrates of the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), including the deputy prosecutor Patrice Amar and his former chief Eliane Houlette. A decision taken as a minister in a case that had directly affected him when he was a lawyer.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also “Conflict of interest”, “destabilization of the judicial institution”: the sling of the magistrates against Eric Dupond-Moretti

As part of an investigation aimed at identifying “the mole” which had informed Nicolas Sarkozy and his lawyer Thierry Herzog that their secret telephone line was tapped in the corruption file called “Bismuth”, the detailed telephone bills of Mr. Dupond -Moretti, as well as those of other tenors of the bar, had been dissected by the PNF.

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