Eric Dupond-Moretti, Minister of Justice, again suspected of conflict of interest

The frontal conflict between the judiciary and the Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, could worsen. His past as a lawyer increases the risks of a conflict of interest situation for the minister. According to information from World, confirming those of Mediapart, even before the opening of an administrative investigation against three magistrates of the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) in the context of the fadettes case, the Keeper of the Seals had asked, three weeks after his arrival at Place Vendôme, the opening of another investigation against Edouard Levrault, former investigating judge in Monaco. Such an investigation, also entrusted to the General Inspectorate of Justice, is the first step in a possible disciplinary procedure before the Superior Council of the Judiciary.

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Just before his appointment to the post of Minister of Justice, Mr. Dupond-Moretti had criticized Judge Levrault, now stationed in Nice, for having spoken publicly about a sensitive investigation that he had conducted as a judge of instruction in Monaco. It is on this possible breach of ethics that the administrative investigation should focus. “Again, the minister is using his power for private ends”, considers Guillaume Saint-Cricq, union defender of the Union Syndicale des Magistrates (USM) of Mr. Levrault.

The story goes back to June, after the broadcast of a show of “Exhibits” on France 3, in which Mr. Levrault, “disembarked” from the Rock in August 2019, denounces the way justice is served in Monaco. The magistrate believes he was ousted for having delved too closely into corruption cases involving high officials of the Principality. His investigations which had pointed to the contacts between the Russian oligarch and president of the Monaco football club Dmitri Rybolovlev and the police, justice and local power, had led to the indictment of the latter as well as that of two Monegasque ministers and the former director of the Rocher judicial police, Christophe Haget.

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It is Mr. Haget that Mr. Dupond-Moretti represented at the time of the broadcast of the program, in June. The lawyer filed a complaint on behalf of Mr. Haget against the investigating judge for the comments made in the show.

Procedure initiated “before appointment”

At the same time, Nicole Belloubet, still Minister of Justice, is seized by the Monegasque authorities on a possible “Violation of investigative secrecy” during the show. Deciding to respond to the Principality’s request, Belloubet wants to have Mr. Levrault heard by his hierarchical authority, the first president of the Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône) court of appeal, in mid-July. But the magistrate, considering that there was no legal basis for this interview since the inspection had not been seized and that the article of law invoked in the summons seemed inappropriate to him, chose not to answer the questions. Questions. Two weeks later, on July 31, Mr. Dupond-Moretti, arrived at Place Vendôme, requested the opening of an administrative investigation.

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