Ex-minister’s paternity battle finally put to bed

Ex-minister's paternity battle finally put to bed
Ex-Justice Minister Rachida Dati whose long lawsuit to prove who is the father of her daughter has come to an end it seems. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP
Speculation finally came to an end this week when a court ruled that a French tycoon was the father of former justice minister Rachida Dati's daughter. At one point the tycoon had offered the names of seven other men he claims could have been the father.

A French court ruled Tuesday a business tycoon was the father of former justice minister Rachida Dati's daughter, putting to bed a case that cast light on the sexual antics of the political elite.

Dati, 48, a glamorous protege of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, had a fling with Dominique Desseigne — the boss of the Lucien Barriere casino, hotel and restaurant group — while she served as justice minister.

She gave birth to her daughter Zohra, now five years old, in 2009 and later took 70-year-old Desseigne to court to try to make him accept paternity.

A court ordered him to take a test that would establish whether he was Zohra's father, but he refused — although he confirmed he had had a fling with Dati.

On Tuesday, a court in the Paris suburb of Versailles ruled that he was indeed the father, and ordered him to give Dati a monthly allowance of €2,500 ($3,200), according to an extract of the ruling obtained by AFP.

Under French law, a court cannot force anyone to take a paternity test but can interpret a refusal as indicating a person is the father or mother of a child, although other proof is needed to fully confirm this.

The court ruled Tuesday that evidence brought by various parties had allowed it to determine Desseigne is the father.

Dati gave birth to Zohra in January 2009. She was single at the time, and the press was full of speculation over who the father was

In a 2012 report in Le Monde daily, friends of Desseigne claimed he had holidayed with Dati in Mauritius at the end of 2007 but that the relationship ended in February 2008 with him having made it clear he did not want to have a child with her.

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