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Late last year, the acclaimed French economist Thomas Piketty, a best-selling author for his work centred on wealth and income gaps, hailed by the Left and spurned by the Right, gave a conference at the university of Toulouse, south-west France, when he was surprised by a question from a student. It concerned a complaint for domestic violence filed against him in 2009 by his former partner, then a socialist MP and later culture minister, Aurélie Filippetti. His response prompted Filippetti to lodge a new complaint, this time for defamation, which has had the effect of breaking a decade-long taboo among the French media and political circles. Lénaïg Bredoux reports.
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