A tale of France's justice minister, a Russian oligarch and an inconvenient judge

By and

When working as a barrister Éric Dupond-Moretti strongly attacked an examining judge whose investigations were sending shockwaves through the principality of Monaco. After he became Emmanuel Macron's justice minister in 2020, Dupond-Moretti quickly launched a disciplinary inquiry into that same judge. Mediapart reveals the background to this extraordinary tale and reveals a new link between the minister and the Russian billionaire at the centre of the scandal. Fabrice Arfi and Antton Rouget report.

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It is 11am on May 17th 2021 and a judge is sitting in a charmless office in a Ministry of Justice annex building sandwiched between the Paris ring road and Aubervilliers in the north of the capital. In his hotel room the day before he had gone over dozens of notes strewn on his bed about what he was going to say, how he was going to say it and why.