Mimi Marchand, the pope of the press people in France, was indicted on Saturday, in particular for “witness bribery” in the case of suspicion of Libyan financing of the presidential campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007.
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After two days in police custody, the boss of the paparazzi agency BestImage, Michèle Marchand was presented on Saturday to a Parisian examining magistrate, who also indicted her for “criminal association with a view to committing a crime. organized gang scam ”and placed under judicial control, his lawyer, Caroline Toby, told AFP. “She firmly disputes the alleged facts,” said the latter.
Nicknamed “Mimi”, this colorful figure of the celebrity press, former owner of nightclubs, friend of thugs and police officers, is close to the Sarkozy couple and more recently to Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron, whom she protects – behind the scenes – the image since the presidential campaign.
She was taken into police custody Thursday as part of a judicial investigation opened after an interview granted last November by the sulphurous Franco-Lebanese intermediary Ziad Takieddine to a journalist from the French weekly Paris Match, who had traveled to Lebanon with a photographer from BestImage.
In this interview, Ziad Takieddine withdrew his statements against Nicolas Sarkozy, although he accused him for years of having received money for his 2007 presidential campaign from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The sulphurous intermediary had also spoken briefly to BFMTV from Beirut, where he has been on the run since his conviction in June 2020 in another case. “The truth is out,” the former head of state immediately triumphed.
These statements had led the national financial prosecutor Jean-François Bohnert to emphasize that the indictments of Nicolas Sarkozy in this investigation were not based only on the statements of Mr. Takieddine.
Two months later, questioned on January 14 in Beirut by two French examining magistrates, the intermediary, known for his versatility, declared that he did not confirm “the words” of the interview, claiming that they had been “distorted” by Paris Match, which “belongs to a friend of Sarkozy”.
The weekly is owned by the Lagardère group, of which Nicolas Sarkozy is a member of the supervisory board.
Mr. Takieddine had therefore returned to his first version, according to which the 2007 presidential campaign of Mr. Sarkozy had received the contribution of Libyan funds. While insisting that he had nothing to do with it.
The daily Release had mentioned in March movements of suspicious funds, evoking possible negotiations on the sidelines of the interview.
Mimi Marchand “acted as a journalist who had the exclusivity of this interview with Mr. Takieddine,” said Caroline Toby on Saturday. “She only organized the photos and the interview, within the scope of her job,” she explained.
Four other people charged
Four other people have been charged. Among them, the advertiser Arnaud de la Villesbrunne, former director of the Publicis agency. “My client barely understood the terms of his indictment as he feels foreign to all this, and he will explain it later before the judges,” his lawyer, Eric Morain, told AFP.
The businessman Pierre Reynaud and Noël Dubus, a man already convicted of fraud, is also among those prosecuted.
According to the daily The Parisian, Noël Dubus, who went twice to Beirut to meet Mr. Takieddine there before his retraction, would have benefited from suspicious payments, via Mr. Villesbrunne, who was one of the providers of the presidential campaign of Mr. Sarkozy.
According to Release, the businessman Pierre Reynaud would have advanced to Mr. Dubus funds to be given to Mr. Takieddine.