Friday, January 30, 2009

french journo faces six million euro in claims

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BEHIND THE HEADLINES




Bailiffs have appeared on his doorstep at home some 200 times, claims the support committee behind France’s leading investigative journalist.




There are some 30 court cases lodged in progress against Denis Robert in what may prove to be one of the biggest banking scandals yet – even after the global economic crisis.




So far, a total of six million euros are being claimed against Robert and various French media who have reported his claims of vast networks of corruption, much of it allegedly linking to the global economic crisis.




Robert has been forced to start selling paintings, tshirts, and to step away from exposes and pen a novel to try and match steadily climbing legal bills.




Most of the claims come from Clearstream, a clearing bank so secretive French judges have publicly denounced it as the “black box of offshore banking.”




Some 500 journalists have scanned in their press cards and sent them into one of a handful of blogs set up to support Robert.




Another 5,300 have signed a petition in support of the investigative journalist.




Such support perhaps explains an astonishing move made by Clearstream – a large ad in Le Monde newspaper last month offering an “amicable” agreement with the author of Revelation$, a 2001 book alleging a secret, secondary banking system involved in global, high-level corruption.




Roberts told French media he had decided to reject the Clearstream offer.




“An impossible offer is impossible”.




Upon reflection and after consultation with his lawyers, Denis declined the "offer" and wrote in a text published Wednesday 29 October by Liberation.




His last post on his old blog, Le domination du monde – Domination of the World – outlines legal threats against him.




Warnings against the chilling effect on freedoms of speech from global banking interests date back to 2006.




“Today after five years of fighting in France and also in Luxembourg, Switzerland and Belgium, Denis Robert can no longer keep up financially.




“A case of a writer and his revelations - annoying for those in power. His last book "Clearstream, the investigation" did not help matters: Clearstream filed new complaints in Luxembourg and France and claiming vertiginous damages on behalf of various interests. The firm also attacks his interviews in the press.




“If we take into account complaints by the Russian bank Menatep, a general bank of Luxembourg, the auditors Barbier-Frinault or that of (former French prime minister) Dominique de Villepin, 31 procedures are underway at this time. None are close to being finally judged as Clearstream and its allies use defamation cases against him and call for judicial review if they are dismissed.




“In total, more than six million euros in damages and accumulated interest are claimed from Denis Robert, his witnesses, the website Arena and its publishers and Julliard Canal Plus which broadcast his films.




“Of 28 judgments, by 1 June 2006, Clearstream and its allies had only 3 euros between them when they had asked for between 100 and 300 000 per claim.”




“We do not want to leave Denis alone.




“That is why we appeal to you to provide practical support for his defense against the juggernaut of Clearstream and its allies.




“In his books and films, he has helped us to better understand the scenes of high finance and means put in place aimed at looting States with financial ‘black boxes” like Clearstream.”




This year, Roberts diversified his Clearstream outputs to include a comic book – or graphic novel as they are more politely known.




“A cartoon like this is the juice (he spells it out, le suc), ten years that are compressed, condensed in a narrative and reflections”, he tells French news site, Mediaslice.

Appearance of a comic book is a rare event among English investigative journalists, but graphic novels are a respected and influential part of life in France.

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