Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy criticised for comments about former Justice Minister's origins

Read more

DEBATE

The Pope's Wake Up Call: How to Kickstart "Haggard" Europe

Read more

ENCORE!

Nobody From Nowhere, Asterix and Obelix and In The Family.

Read more

FACE-OFF

François Hollande's private life faces global scrutiny

Read more

FOCUS

One year on, what has Maidan changed in Ukraine?

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users react to Ferguson grand jury decision

Read more

WEB NEWS

USA: Online reactions to the death of Tamir Rice

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Israel: Business is booming in gun shops

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Monica Macovei, Former Romanian justice minister

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

    Marseille gets more police to combat gang violence

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Deploying army to violent Marseille ‘inconceivable’

    Read more

COMMENT(S)