Lover killed French banker in 'fit of passion'

20th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

GENEVA, March 20 (AFP) - The woman suspected of murdering French banker Edouard Stern was described Sunday as distraught and weeping in jail following the fatal shooting of her millionaire lover.

GENEVA, March 20 (AFP) - The woman suspected of murdering French banker Edouard Stern was described Sunday as distraught and weeping in jail following the fatal shooting of her millionaire lover.

Cecile Brossard, 36, was to appear at a closed-door hearing in court in Geneva charged with murdering Stern on February 28, according to one of the Frenchwoman's lawyers, Pascal Maurer.

He indicated that she would plead that she acted in a fit of passion following a long-term relationship with Stern, 50, described as among France's 30 richest men.

"I saw my client in prison on Friday," Maurer said. "She is a desperate woman who cries a lot and has killed the man she loved."

He said she "acted in a moment of madness, and when she realised what she had done, she took flight and went to Australia."

Brossard, who has been described as a former fashion model, returned to Switzerland and after two rounds of questioning by police, " she cracked and confessed," Maurer said.

"Edouard Stern promised to marry her, he told her that she was the woman of his life and he even gave her a CHF 1 million (EUR 645,000, USD 859,000) before blocking the money two days later," Maurer told AFP.

Last week, investigating judge Michel Graber said in a statement that Stern had been killed by a woman with whom he had had "intimate and regular relations for several years."

"Mr. Stern was wearing a latex bodysuit and he was shot with four bullets from a firearm, two to the head, in the context of a sexual relation that was part of his private life," the judge said, adding that there was no indication of a break-in at Stern's luxurious apartment in Geneva.

Maurer said Graber was keeping all information concerning the case close to the vest, and that defence counsel had been unable to see police or prosecution files. Although Maurer said the killing was a crime of passion, French newspapers said Stern had spoken of death threats following major investments in Russia and Eastern Europe.

In Paris, the weekly Journal du Dimanche said a large sum of money had been found at the home of Brossard's uncle and aunt in Nancy, France. It said they had received from Australia a parcel containing a latex bodysuit and various accessories used in sado-masochism.

But Gerard Michel, a lawyer for the uncle and aunt, "denied in the most categorical manner" that any money had been found. He confirmed that a parcel had been sent, and that his clients had handed it immediately to police.

The lawyer also confirmed Brossard's uncle had handed over to Geneva police a watch belonging to Stern, which the defendant had left in their automobile.

According to Suisse Romande radio, the murder weapon had been found at the bottom of Lake Geneva, in a plastic bag containing several firearms.

Stern was the former heir-apparent to his father-in-law, Michel David-Weill, chairman and controlling shareholder of the investment bank Lazard Freres.

Stern, who had a reputation as a brilliant but abrasive deal-maker, left Lazard after a quarrel in 1997 to run his own investment fund. He was separated from his wife, Beatrice David-Weill, who lives in New York with their three children.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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