Corsica police head sacked over Sarkozy’s friend break-in

2nd September 2008, Comments 0 comments

Corsica's police chief has been sacked for failing to stop separatist militants from breaking into a property owned by an actor friend of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

2 September 2008

PARIS -- Corsica's police chief has been sacked for failing to stop separatist militants from breaking into a luxury property owned by an actor friend of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, officials said Tuesday.

Dominique Rossi, head of security on the Mediterranean island, was dismissed on Monday following the incident at the house of Christian Clavier, co-star of the 1993 cult comedy "Les Visiteurs".

Some 50 activists peacefully occupied his garden in a gated community in southern Porto Vecchio on Saturday, lounging around the pool for several hours after holding a rally against the "looting" of Corsican property by outside developers.

The interior ministry said Rossi was dismissed for failing to take security measures despite a warning the nationalists planned to break into the resort.

He has been transferred to a post at the police oversight body IGPN.

But opposition leaders rounded on the decision to sack him, suggesting it was linked to Clavier's long-term friendship with the French president, whose election campaign he backed in 2007.

The leader of the centrist MoDem party, Francois Bayrou, attacked an "arbitrary and disproportionate" decision, saying it showed "what happens when all powers are concentrated in the same hands".

"Just because Mr Christian Clavier, who is friends with the president of the republic, has a run in with demonstrators at his house, we sack the coordinator of the whole of public security in Corsica."

"This deserves an explanation," agreed Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande. "I want to believe this punishment is not linked to the fact the house belongs to Christian Clavier."

The French interior ministry declined to comment on Clavier's relationship with the president. Sarkozy's office also refused to comment on the sacking.

[AFP / Expatica]

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