France: Ex-drugs squad boss accused over drug smuggling

The former chief of France's drugs squad has been charged with complicity in drug smuggling as part of a probe into controversial methods used by the police to bring down drug barons.

France: Ex-drugs squad boss accused over drug smuggling
Francois Thierry was charged Thursday evening with complicity in the possession, transport and acquisition of drugs and in the export of drugs as part of an organised gang, a source close to the investigation told AFP on Friday.
His squad came under investigation after seven tonnes of cannabis smuggled from Morocco was seized in Paris on October 17, 2015.
Top French anti-drugs cop jailed for stealing massive cocaine haul
The police headquarters in Paris. Photo: AFP
The police were initially praised for the haul but it later emerged that it was part of a sting operation aimed at infiltrating a smuggler network, with the help of a notorious trafficker acting as an informer.
Investigators accuse Thierry of keeping his superiors in the dark about parts of the operation and the role played by the trafficker, allegations he denies.
He has been released on bail.
His lawyer Francis Szpiner accused prosecutors of “incredible hypocrisy”, saying Thierry's methods had produced “exceptional results”.


French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test

France's Europe minister on Monday called for "total transparency" over speculation that one of Italy's victorious Eurovision contestants used cocaine during the song contest, saying it should be grounds for disqualification if confirmed.

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test
France's entry, Barbara Pravi, said she didn't care whether Måneskin had used drugs or not. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Damiano David, the outlandish vocalist for Italian rockers Måneskin, has agreed to take a drug test after video footage appeared to show him snorting something from a table backstage during Saturday’s contest.

“I think there needs to be no doubt here, and total transparency,” Europe Minister Clement Beaune, who attended the show in Rotterdam, told RMC radio. “If there is a problem, there are penalties… Provisions are made for sanctioning measures, including potential disqualification in case of problems.” 

French hopes had been riding high on singer Barbara Pravi, who was a bookmakers’ favourite to end France’s 44-year Eurovision drought with her
moody ballad “Voila.”

But she was edged out at the last minute by a surge in public votes for Måneskin, with a final tally of 524 to Pravi’s 499.

“I don’t want to be a sore loser,” Beaune said, but “in terms of image, we can’t let people think that such competitions can result in such behaviour.”

The president of France’s public broadcasting group, however, said Monday that France would not contest its second-place finish, no matter the speculation over David’s backstage antics.

“France has absolutely no intention to lodge an appeal,” France Televisions chief Delphine Ernotte told the Parisien newspaper. “The vote was quite clearly in Italy’s favour — it didn’t steal its
victory and that’s what matters,” she said.

Pravi herself said she was not interested in the speculation.

“What’s true is that they were chosen by both the public and the jury. Afterwards, if they use drugs or they put their underwear on backwards or whatever… it’s not my problem,” she told France 2 television on Sunday.