Jean-Michel Gentil

'Manifestly abusive behaviour': what the judges really thought about Nicolas Sarkozy in Bettencourt affair


Nicolas Sarkozy and his political allies have been celebrating the decision by judges to drop proceedings against him in relation to the Bettencourt affair. But in their official judgement the two examining magistrates make clear they nonetheless regard the former president's behaviour towards the elderly and frail L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt to be 'abusive'. Mediapart here publishes extracts from a ruling whose tough language throws into context Sarkozy's claim that he has been declared 'innocent'. Michel Deléan reports.

Bettencourt magistrate victim of 'judge hunt' for 'daring' to put Sarkozy under investigation

France — Analysis

Judge Jean-Michel Gentil has been accused of a 'major conflict of interest' and lack of impartiality after it emerged that one of the medical experts he used in the Bettencourt investigation is a friend of his. The disclosure, which has been given massive media coverage, follows the anonymous death threats and vitriolic attacks from right-wing politicians that greeted his decision to put former president Nicolas Sarkozy under formal investigation for allegedly exploiting the mental frailty of billionaire Liliane Bettencourt. But, as Mediapart's legal affairs expert Michel Deléan explains, this is simply the latest in a catalogue of attacks on judges who dare to turn the spotlight on powerful political and business interests.

Three Sarkozy allies to be questioned as Bettencourt probe nears its dramatic conclusion


The judge carrying out the high-profile investigation into the Bettencourt affair involving France's wealthiest woman, allegations of financial abuse and claims of political corruption at the highest levels, has ordered three allies of former President Nicolas Sarkozy to be questioned as witnesses. Judge Jean-Michel Gentil, who is said to be close to completing his mammoth task, is examining whether L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt's mental frailty was taken advantage of by those around her. But the publicity-shy judge is also investigating claims that the billionaire’s money was illegally used to fund Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign. There are also allegations that the Elysée Palace tried to stop a proper investigation into the affair and that France's domestic spy chief himself became involved. As Michel Deléan reports, the judge is leaving no stone unturned in his inquiries.