Why French Prime Minister not file a complaint against his friend Mafia Eric Duval?
Dans son bureau ministériel, Bernard Cazeneuve entouré par Y Chhean et sa femme (à gauche) et Eric Duval (à droite) © DR
In June 2012, Bernard Cazeneuve was quietly decorated with the Royal Order of Cambodia by Pol Pot’s former bodyguard and governor of the town of Païlin, Y Chhean, on the sidelines of a twinning project with his hometown of Cherbourg. The organizer of this visit, real estate developer Eric Duval, « the great prior of the Saint John Order of Jerusalem », is targeted by a preliminary investigation in Nanterre for suspicions of bribery of Cambodian public officials.
It is a meeting of which no trace can be found in the agenda of the quai d’Orsay, and which was not related to Cherbourg in the local press either. On June 20, 2012, the then Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve, then Minister of European Affairs, discreetly handed over the insignia of the Royal Order of Cambodia to his office of the Quai d’Orsay by a former Khmer commander Y Chhean, known for his leadership of Pol Pot’s personal guard, before becoming governor of Paílin, the western province of the Khmer Rouge refugee area.
The French minister officially invited the former Cambodian military as Mayor of Cherbourg, at the instigation of a powerful French property developer, Éric Duval, owner of Compagnie financier des Alizées (CFA) and financier Duval, 75th A hexagonal fortune, which also paid part of the costs. Éric Duval who is also « Grand Prior » in the « Saint John Order of Jerusalem », a Maltese order based in Sao Tome, received the same Cambodian decoration in June 2012 as the minister.
This surprising visit of Y Chhean, and this twinning project, prepared a few months earlier by the journey of a deputy from Cazeneuve to Païlin, had unfavorably attracted the attention of the French ambassador to Cambodia, Christian Connan. Since then, a complaint was filed in Nanterre last December by a former Duval representative in Phnom Penh, and a preliminary investigation was opened for « false, forgery and use and fraud ».
The complainant, who complained of acts of concussion by several advisers and relatives of the Cambodian ministers, communicated in particular the letter of invitation of Bernard Cazeneuve to Y Chhean in April 2012, mentioning the presence of an « assistant to the minister of Cambodian « interior, employed by a subsidiary of Mr. Duval, in the delegation invited to Cherbourg. Governor Y Chhean’s own wife, Ms. Ban Sreymon, also presents in the delegation invited by the city of Cherbourg, obtained shares in one of the Duval branch of the EDM investment group, as well as funds to invest, according to Documents obtained by Mediapart. The inquiry service seized by the Nanterre public prosecutor’s office should logically examine the circumstances of the invitation sent by Mr Cazeneuve to Mr Chhean and those of the award of the Cambodian decoration to the French Minister.
Mediapart, carrying out « a major operation in the heart of the city of Cherbourg », the shopping center Les Eleis, inaugurated by the former mayor who became the budget minister in September 2013. « When I told Cazeneuve that I was doing Operations in Cambodia, he told me « it’s really good, » comments Éric Duval. We wanted to organize a twinning with Païlin. We’re not going to help the governor. The governor must be attached to his former activities. There are thousands who have done bullshit in Cambodia. »
« I was never told » you’re going to receive Pol Pot’s former bodyguard, « reacted Bernard Cazeneuve, questioned by Mediapart. If it had been brought to my knowledge, I would not have received it. He gave me a decoration that I did not ask for. In Internet time, it is enough to type Païlin and Y Chhean on a search engine to see appear articles that mention, here, the rich and sulphurous governor, ex-Khmer Rouge commander, or there his scandal in 2008 during the displacement of the court judging the Khmer Rouge leaders in Païlin. « We received the alerts afterwards, » says Cazeneuve. The former Mayor of Cherbourg also asserts that he was unaware of Duval’s duties within the order of St. John of Jerusalem.
« This is a self-proclaimed order, » comments the General Secretary of the Order of Malta, Alain de Tonquedec, questioned by Mediapart. Their decorations are chocolate medals. They are not recognized by the order of the Legion of Honor, nor by the Vatican, which has included it in its list of false orders. In addition, to be « great prior », one must be religious, what Duval is not. This does not prevent the promoter from handing over the Grand Cross of the Ecumenical Order of Malta to the president of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaoré in 2010, nor to circulate with a diplomatic passport stamped Knights of Malta.
The « Grand Master » Emilio Lobera Martinez (second to the left of Duval in the photo) has been sued for five years in Spain for having put his travel agency at the service of the corruption network of the former Mayor of La Muela ). Non grata in France, the order Saint-Jean of Jerusalem meets every year in Huesca in Spain, to adouber its new knights. In June 2011, Éric Duval offered a white-red red cape to Cambodian Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana before joining the Governor of Yin Chhean the following year after his visit to Cherbourg.
Eric Duval proposed to his wife a stake in Fide Rice impex co, a rice husking plant founded in Batabang in the north of Phnom Penh, after the Cambodian justice minister, Ang Vong Vathana. « It is a small, truly symbolic participation, » confirms Duval: 15%. In Fide Rice impex co, Duval also joined one of the senior officials working with Ang Vong Vathana, Mr. Samphy Phov, Director General of Research and Judicial Development, Also in Huesca donning the red cape. « He has fifteen per cent, » admits Duval. But his departure has been recorded. Samphy Phov’s wife is also a shareholder in a service station company taken over by Duval, Makara Petromarts and services.
« CHANCELLOR OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS »
The French developer also associated with his business an adviser to Prime Minister Hun Sen, Heng Tay Kri, owner of rice paddies in southern Cambodia. « He’s a small investor, » admits Duval. But it no longer has a governmental role. On August 30, 2010, Mr. Heng Tay Kri had obtained an initial hearing with Duval for Duval in order to obtain his « sponsorship » to formalize the construction of a clinic in Païlin. The Frenchman presents himself as « the great prior of the Sovereign and Ecumenical Order of Saint John of Jerusalem » and the president of a group weighing 468 million euros of turnover. During 2010, he also sent letters on behalf of his « Chancellor of Foreign Affairs » asking the Cambodian authorities for diplomatic recognition of his Order.
The Grand Prior demands the opening of an embassy to the Prime Minister © DR
Through an agreement with Sao Tome, the self-proclaimed Order of St. John has « a seat of state » and a micro-territory, « Fort Sebastian ». It thus obtained the possibility of opening an embassy in Mali. The French promoter also hopes to obtain Cambodian nationality, and one of its most active representatives on the spot, an official in the Ministry of the Interior, Yim Seap, obtains the signature of his minister. Among other formalities, Seap has also opened a bank account at Canadia Bank for Cambodia’s main commercial venture, Cambodian Commercial Agriculture Investment (CCAI). He was the interpreter of Y Chhean and Jean-Claude Magalhaes, the deputy of Bernard Cazeneuve, during his visit to Païlin in January 2012, as seen in the video produced by the services of the governor of Païlin.
Visit of the deputy of Bernard Cazeneuve to Païlin © DR
Jean-Claude Magalhaes assured that he was not informed of the activities of Éric Duval within the Order of Saint-Jean, even though he speaks of his « Excellence Éric Duval » in this short film. « I’m an old layman, » he told Mediapart. We tried to trap me, I do not like it at all. It was Mr. Duval who organized my first contacts in Cambodia. I did not have any, and indeed, I did not have the reflex to inquire upstream. M. Duval was introduced to me by the mayor, and I had no reason to doubt his honesty. »
The elected officials did not see the condemnation for « corruption » in June 2013 of a regional manager of the Duval group pinned by Tracfin for having awarded, in 2008, 140,000 euros to the Socialist general councilor Christian Mabille, under cover of A promise to sell a land, never sold – the elected one was sentenced to one year suspended sentence. An expenditure validated at the time by the commitment committee chaired by Éric Duval.
After passing a first deliberation validating the project of cooperation with Païlin, the Mayor of Cherbourg sends M. Magalhaes to the spot. She pays her traveling expenses, except for the helicopter chartered by Duval. Magalhaes only took it to go, he says. On the other hand, Mr. Y Chhean’s trip to Cherbourg was almost entirely covered by the property developer. The city council took care of only the two-star hotel rooms, the meal and the official dinner of the delegation. Not to mention the Cherbourg book prize, a day that was given to them …
It was not until eight months later that the former president of Cherbourg received an e-mail from the French ambassador to Cambodia, Christian Connan. « He wrote to me explaining that this is a problem area, » Magalhaes recalls. And then they started telling me about corruption, and so on. The feeling we had was that it was not possible to launch cooperation in such a climate of corruption. When we knew it was a system that was not clear, we withdrew. Ambassador Connan, who had retired, did not respond to our requests for interview.
The current mayor of Cherbourg, Jean-Michel Houllegatte, remembers having received an « anonymous letter » warning. « She drew our attention to the fact that the governor was a former Khmer Rouge, » the elected official said. Then the ambassador called us to be vigilant about the purpose of our interlocutors. »
After having handed over the Royal Order to Bernard Cazeneuve, and briefly visited Cherbourg, Mr. Y Chhean and his wife went to Huesca to be knighted by the Order of St. John, and before returning to the plane, Made a speech at the Institute of Gemology of Paris. The province of Païlin is indeed a high place of extraction of precious stones, in Cambodia.
The partners of Païlin cut down their cards soon after. As early as September 2012, Yim Seap, Duval’s representative in Phnom Penh, noted that « Mrs. Ban proposes to Eric with her in the construction of a large hotel on the border of Païlin with Thailand ». « She’s now finishing on the 4th floor and wants to build 6. If Eric is involved, it’s a good investment, because at the border there are a lot of Thai traders who play at the casino, and because she has all the power In the province, it can do a lot, « Seap noted.
« I did zero business with Ms. Ban, » comments Éric Duval, questioned by Mediapart. She says more than she does. She tinkers! According to the developer, EDM, created with Mrs. Ban, did not finally complete the project of the rice husking plant in Païlin – despite an investment of $ 310,000 … According to a document obtained by Mediapart, Richard Falquerho, Duval’s chief financial officer, spoke directly with Y Chhean’s wife about this investment on November 15, 2012.
Shortly after the official visit to Cherbourg, the Duval group paid $ 250,000 to the Governor’s wife to purchase the rice to be husked. According to the plan of Falquerho, the land destined for the factory, four hectares for 60,000 dollars, must be divided into two parts, one in the name of Mrs. Ban and the other in the name of Éric Duval. In November, Mrs Ban is demanding a new tranche of 250,000 euros which is not finally paid to her. The advances made by Duval through its subsidiary Fedent to its Cambodian company CCAI reached $ 2.4 million in 2012. But the twinning of Païlin fell into the water. « I think the governor is annoyed, » explained the official Yim Seap by mail in March 2013. When the partnership was signed, the King signed an important medal for Mr. Cazeneuve, and he also signed for the medal for Jean-Michel Boukhers – Editor, one of the partners of Éric Duval, « chancellor » Of the order of Saint-Jean and patron of the group Patrimoine et commerce. But the result is always negative. We met by telephone with Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve on April 16 at 9:40 am We had two telephone interviews with Mr. Éric Duval, whom we met on April 22 at 11:30 am The present mayor of Cherbourg, Mr. Jean-Michel Houllegatte, has sent us the documents relating to Mr. Magalhaes’s trip to Cambodia and the visit of the delegation of Païlin to France.
Writing by Karl Laske MEDIAPART
au premier rang 2eme en partant de la droite Edem Kodjo le conseiller du dictateur togolais ,au bout de la deuxième rangée, le ministre Ang Vong Vathana, sa robe rouge sur les genoux. © DR
Eric Duval, au centre, lors d’une cérémonie en Espagne en 2012, en présence de l’état-major de son groupe © DR
Mme Geneviève Gosselin-Fleury, adjointe au maire, suppléante de M. Cazeneuve, devenue députée, signe le protocole de coopératio