The former parliamentarian, beaten last June in the legislative elections in Seine-Saint-Denis by Raquel Garrido (LFI), was arrested at his home on Wednesday morning, said a source familiar with the matter, confirming information from the Parisian.
He was taken into custody, the Paris prosecutor’s office said. Contacted, his lawyer Me Yvon Goutal did not comment.
Two other men were also placed in police custody on Tuesday in this investigation: a former collaborator of Mr. Lagarde and Anouar Bouhadjela, known as Noam Anouar, a police officer seconded to the town hall of Drancy (Seine-Saint-Denis) who was directed by Mr. Lagarde from 2001 to 2017, before his wife Aude Lavail-Lagarde took over as head.
Noam Anouar’s police custody was lifted late Wednesday afternoon without prosecution at this stage, according to a source close to the investigation, confirmed by the Paris prosecutor’s office.
“I am satisfied that the investigation is progressing. I remind you that this case goes far beyond simply defamation or insult. It is indeed a breach of criminal law”, reacted Raquel Garrido on BFMTV on Wednesday, ” I hope that justice will go to the end of its work”.
In June, just after the second round of the legislative elections, Le Point had published an article by Aziz Zemouri on its website unduly accusing the couple of having exploited an undocumented cleaning lady. The two elected officials had immediately denied it firmly.
Very rare, the article had been withdrawn the next day and the newspaper had admitted that it had “turned out to be false” and “lie”.
The Garrido-Corbière couple had filed a complaint on June 27, followed the next day by that of Mr. Zemouri, which targets him Jean-Christophe Lagarde and the policeman Anouar Bouhadjela.
It was, according to his account, this policeman who had contacted him at the end of May to put him in touch with a woman claiming to be a household help, undeclared and without papers, of the couple of deputies.
– Source “crucified” –
“Mr. Zemouri’s complaint is a smokescreen to dismiss the obvious lack of investigation he demonstrated, while crucifying one of his sources. He sought to protect himself from disapproval by making fire of all woods, even the most irrational”, reacted to AFP Mes Nabila Asmane and Vincent Brengarth, lawyers for Mr. Anouar.
Jean-Christophe Lagarde, boss of the UDI (Union of Democrats and Independents) since 2014, for his part filed a complaint at the end of June for breach of trust.
The Paris prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary investigation on June 29 to examine these three complaints on the grounds of organized fraud, forgery and use of forgery, identity and data theft. The investigations were entrusted to the Brigade for the repression of delinquency against the person (BRDP).
The Garrido-Corbière couple also filed a second defamation complaint against Aziz Zemouri and Le Point.
Recognizing failures in its “internal control processes”, the weekly launched an internal investigation and Mr. Zemouri was laid off at the end of June.
Le Point invoked “external smoking, first” by writing that “people probably sought to sell a false story to discredit Raquel Garrido and Alexis Corbière”.
The magazine also explained that the screenshots of the text messages allegedly exchanged between the fake employee and Raquel Garrido, published by the journalist, “constituted a rough montage”.
Defeated in the legislative elections after four terms at the head of the 5th district of Seine-Saint-Denis (2002-2022), Jean-Christophe Lagarde, 54, will appear on October 3 before the Paris Criminal Court for embezzlement of public funds.
He will be judged alongside his mother-in-law, Monique Escolier-Lavail, for having granted him a fictitious job in the National Assembly between May 2009 and August 2010. Facts that he disputes.