Gérald Marie affair: Mimi Marchand's troubled role to defend the modeling agency Elite twenty years ago
It’s a cold box that heats up.In the wake of the charges against modeling agent Gérald Marie, targeted by a rape investigation, the Elite affair reappears twenty years after having hit the headlines in France and in the United Kingdom.Accused at the time of having implemented a system of sexual exploitation of young models, the agency and its European boss had countered with force.Before the courts, but also in the media.At the heart of this response, a very connected shadow woman: the Queen of the People Mimi Marchand press.
Before resuming the Bestimage agency and becoming an unofficial advisor in image of the Macron couple, Mimi Marchand had 1.000 lives.It was at the time when she frequented the world of the night-first with an open garage 24 hours a day and then at the head of Parisian clubs-, in the years 1980-1990, that she met GéraldMarie, a regular at the shower baths and from Régine.When a BBC Undercover report made Elite tremble in 1999, Gérald Marie and his partner Alain Kittler turned to a trusted firefighter to turn off the fire: Mimi, obviously.At the head of the Shadow and Co news agency, it provides most of the scoops to here.And if she does not - yet - the ear of the presidents, Michèle Marchand already has that of all the bosses of the press.And links among the police via her companion, a police officer of general information that she has since married.
A young model with the rescue
First step: Restart the image of Elite.In the BBC hidden camera documentary, we see Gérald Marie telling a journalist who pretends to be a model: "I give you 1 million reads [the equivalent of 600 euros] if I fuck you!Two weeks after the broadcast, Gérald Marie arrives on everyone's set talks about it.Surrounded by two young models, he assures that the report is rigged."In short, it was you who got fucked," laughs Thierry Ardisson.Loan Chabanol, not yet 17 years old and obviously uncomfortable, certifies on the screen that she has "never been forced" to go to dinners with wealthy men.
Ten days after an investigation by the Capital magazine in which Omar Harfouch denounces facts of sexual harassment on minors, La Dépêche du Midi devotes an article to this merciless war in September 2001.Mimi Marchand, presented as belonging to the Elite press service, invokes a "commercial vendetta" and asks: "Who wants to kill the agency?"Loan Chabanol, still she swears in the article:" We are really very protected."It is then that Omar Harfouch is targeted by a campaign to discredit it.
False interpol report
In the fall of 2001, several documents began to circulate in Parisian and Geneva editors.Among them, a police report, in which a Parisian bar boss accuses Harfouch of serving as an intermediary for pimps.A former journalist explains at 20 minutes not having mentioned it in his article, finding the timing too suspicious.Sylvain Besson, at the time a journalist for time, is on his side of "curious formal anomalies" in this PV.According to our information, a policeman who has led to the testimony concerning Omar Harfouch to several journalists then retracted, explaining that he had confused two cases.
In another document that looks like an intelligence note, Omar Harfouch is presented as Persona Non Grata in Lebanon known to Interpol services.Elite denounces a "harfouch affair" and addresses an open letter to the press.A few weeks apart, La Tribune de Genève and L’Express resume the main lines of these accusations.
Ten years later, in 2009, the documentary The shock methods of the paparazzi, broadcast on Canal+ in Special Investigation, reveals that this supposed interpol sheet is slum.It seems to come from a private Franco-Swiss intelligence agency, Intelynx, active at the time.The three -page document, which 20 minutes obtained, seems to be sent by a certain Michel Gizardin to Michèle Marchand, "from the company Elite", and thus begins: "Madam, following your request ..."
Except that Intelynx has never written this note."This is a false.We have never written about this subject and never had an employee by the name of Gizardin ", certifies at 20 minutes the former boss of Intelynx, Yves Baeumlin, who had career in counterintelligenceat the DST.According to him, it is an "amateur work", with a "roughly tampered note and put on a header paper.Mention interpol file info is total bullshit.»»
Complaint against X and open investigation
Omar Harfouch, who swears that he has nothing to do with these cases, convinces a journalist to make him follow the fax comprising this false report.The businessman's lawyer takes the opportunity to send an empty fax to the original sender number, visible on the header.Two hours later, he received a response from… Shadow and Co, the company of Mimi Marchand.
Omar Harfouch files complaint against x.The case, entrusted to an investigating judge, will finally be classified, but he will win his three defamation trials, against the Elite agency as well as against the Genève and Express gallery and the Express. Joint par 20 Minutes, l’ancien rédacteur en chef de l’hebdomadaire français, Renaud Revel, assure « ne pas se souvenir»» de qui lui a envoyé les documents.But faced with the special investigation camera, in 2009, he declared: "We were quite instrumentalized by the people of Elite at the time.They tried to make us pass documents which turn out, once again, today totally bogus.»»
Mimi and alias
False marriage certificate by Vincent Lindon and Caroline de Monaco, wooden check, invented interview with the bodyguard of Lady Di… In the book Mimi (2018, Editions Grasset), journalists Jean-Michel Décugis, Pauline Guéana and Marc Leplongeon areincome on four cases in which Michèle Marchand was accused or suspected of having made false - which she has always defended herself. En 1986, elle avait été condamnée à six mois de prison pour « émission de chèques sans provision, falsification et usage»».Three years later, on appeal, she had however been released from the falsification burden, with a sentence reduced to four months suspended sentence.
Sollicitée par 20 Minutes pour donner sa version sur l’origine du faux rapport d’Intelynx signé par ce mystérieux « Michel Gizardin»», l’avocate de Michèle Marchand, Caroline Toby, n’a pas donné suite.According to a former partner, at the time of Shadow and Co and here, Mimi Marchand, who was not allowed to appear on the statutes of the company following a previous conviction, often used alias.In what is perhaps only a surprising coincidence, the name of her friend of then, Michelle Pataud, the manager of Shadow, is ... Gizardin.
Malgré ses ennuis judiciaires récents, avec une mise en examen cet été pour « subornation de témoin»» dans un volet de l’enquête sur les soupçons de financement libyen de la campagne de Nicolas Sarkozy, « Mimi»», 74 ans, a déjà rebondi.After a month in pre -trial detention for having violated her judicial control, it was she who was in charge of the VIP square at Bernard Tapie's burial mass in early October.Among the guests, Brigitte Macron and Nicolas Sarkozy, in particular.JusticeQui est Gérald Marie, l’ancien patron d’Elite Europe accusé de viols par d’anciens mannequins ?Médias« Paris Match»» : « Malaise»» à la rédaction dans le sillage de l’affaire Mimi Marchand