Accused in a Mediapart article of spending their holidays in Corsica in a villa belonging to the companion of a drug trafficker, Sébastien Lecornu and Gérald Darmanin, two of the members of the Macron government, decided to file a complaint on Wednesday for defamation.
Corsica, which rhymes with idleness during the holidays, becomes a headache for the services in charge of the security of the personalities who arrive en masse on the island each summer. In this month of August and like in previous years, many politicians have taken up residence there. Part of the Macron government has taken up residence there, thus responding to the instructions given by Édouard Philippe to be immediately available if necessary. This is how two of them, Sébastien Lecornu, Secretary of State to the Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition and Gérald Darmanin, Minister for Action and Public Accounts, decided to stay together in a villa in about thirty kilometers from Ajaccio.
Together with the services of the prefecture of Corsica, the police officers of the protection service (SDLP) who have a specific antenna on the island, looked into the holiday resort chosen and indicated by them. "And there was nothing to say," certifies Romain Delmon, the chief of staff of the prefecture. The villa – a pretty comfortable building without excessive luxury – and its owner, did not give rise to the writing of a particular warning note by the local authorities.
However, the management of the case of these two political leaders surprised many in the security community. The name of the owner of the premises is associated with that of Gilbert Casanova as indicated by Mediapart. This former nationalist activist, who was also former president of the Corsica-du-Sud Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was notably sentenced in a case of international drug trafficking in 2010 to eight years in prison.
If only so as not to associate the names of the two young ministers with those of people who have had trouble with the law, it would have been necessary, for certain specialists, to find them another vacation spot. According to the latter, various alerts would have been made until Matignon remained a dead letter.
"This woman is no longer the companion of Gilbert Casanova", assures the prefecture
But for the prefecture of Corsica, this name which reappears on the occasion of this short rental is ancient history. "This woman is no longer Gilbert Casanova's companion and there is nothing to reproach her with," says Romain Delmon. "My client has paid his due to the company and you have to know how to make a clean sweep of the past", indicates for his part Me Pascal Garbarini, Gilbert Casanova's counsel, recalling that the latter has always denied the facts. “Besides, we are studying a request for a review of his trial”.
This whole affair illustrates the difficulty of judging the opportune moment to trigger a cautionary note. “We are in a state of law and we cannot impose on a person misdeeds committed by others”, we defend ourselves at the prefecture. And if it were necessary to take into account an entourage even old to prohibit places, the exercise would be very complicated in Corsica. “There are 324.000 people there. This is little. It is therefore difficult to find a family that has not one day had a member or a relative involved in a case, ”says an observer. According to our information, places for which alerts have been given have nevertheless been frequented in the past by personalities.
“We did not meet either the owner or her former companion,” says Gérald Darmanin
This is not the first time that vacation periods have taken place against a backdrop of controversy of this kind. Summer regularly brings its share of similar cases, especially in Corsica. Thus, in August 2015, the Murtoli estate, a holiday resort where Nicolas Sarkozy had spent his holidays, was no longer just a heavenly place. It had become an address of interest to justice. In the middle of August, the press had reported that Tracfin, the Bercy organization responsible for fighting against dirty money, had seized the Paris prosecutor's office of possible movements of suspicious funds in connection with the premises. Information which, it seems, has not been followed up.
For now, Sébastien Lecornu and Gérald Darmanin really didn't think they were drawing attention to themselves by choosing this address. “We are friends and I added myself to Sébastien's stay at the last moment. He himself joined relatives, a couple, who had recommended this villa to him and each paid his share, ”says Gérald Darmanin. Arrived on August 13 by a flight at the end of the afternoon, they were welcomed by this couple who had already been there for a week. “We did not meet either the owner or her former companion,” continues the minister. And to add that this stay had been reported to the security service. "We haven't received any alerts," he said, adding, "We're here to read and rest for a few days." Their tranquility was somewhat disturbed.
Source: © Le Figaro Premium – Holidays in Corsica for two ministers: a rental and questions