Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Uganda protests: 1 dead, several injured during clashes with police

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#MeToo and the court of public opinion

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

S&P 500 ties record for longest bull run

Read more

THE DEBATE

Day 100 for Oleg Sentsov: Crimean-born filmmaker on indefinite hunger strike

Read more

IN THE PRESS

‘Asia Weinstein’: Italian press relishes Argento assault allegations

Read more

FOCUS

Venezuela: Worsening economic crisis erodes Chavista stronghold

Read more

ENCORE!

Strike a pose: The Studio Harcourt on capturing star profiles across the decades

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Jacob Zuma corruption scandal: Influence-peddling inquiry opens

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#MeToo accuser accused in turn

Read more

Europe

Marseille police unit closed due to rampant corruption

Latest update : 2012-10-07

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced the closure of an anti-crime squad in Marseille after theft, racketeering and drug trafficking were exposed in the police unit. Prosecutor Jacques Dallest said “gangrene” had struck the service.

Twelve police officers in France's crime-ridden Marseille appeared in court Friday on suspicion of corruption, extortion and drug dealing, with a prosecutor claiming there was "overwhelming" proof of guilt.

Seven were locked up and five granted provisional release while French Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced he was suspending them and terminating their anti-criminal brigade team.

"The deeds for which they are being pursued are exceptionally grave", the interior ministry said in a statement, and if they proved true they "would damage the honour and the probity that must be shown by those who guarantee the security of our fellow citizens."

Cannabis and money had been found in the lockers of the members of an elite detective squad and above a false ceiling in their office building in the northern district of the southern French city, prosecutor Jacques Dallest said.

The officers were arrested on Tuesday. They are suspected of having stolen drugs and cash from dealers and of holding on to cigarettes confiscated from illicit sellers.

Dallest said secretly recorded conversations in their official vehicles were "very revealing" and suggested the alleged corruption could have involved more officers than those in court on Friday.

"The feeling is that gangrene has taken hold of this service," the prosecutor said.

In Paris, Interior Minister Valls said the officers would face harsh punishment if charged and found guilty.

"If the allegations against them are proven, I will be extremely harsh and will take decisions," he said, adding there is "no place for those who dirty the uniforms of the police."

If charges are brought, the Marseille affair will be the second major corruption case to hit the French police in little over a year.

Michel Neyret, the former deputy police chief of Lyon who was hailed for cutting drug crime and jewellery heists, is currently under house arrest awaiting trial on charges of accepting gifts and favours from members of the city's underworld.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault last month announced beefed up security with 205 extra police to tackle deadly gang violence in Marseille following a wave of underworld shootings.

He also announced the creation of a new security zone in the city's southern quarters.

The Mediterranean port of some 850,000 residents, long known as a hotbed of crime, has been struck by a wave of shootings with assault rifles in turf wars over the lucrative illegal drug trade.

A district mayor had urged the government to take drastic steps, even appealing for the army to be sent in, but the call was rejected quickly by Valls.

(AFP)

Date created : 2012-10-06

  • FRANCE

    Deploying army to violent Marseille ‘inconceivable’

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Marseille gets more police to combat gang violence

    Read more

COMMENT(S)