Olivier Metzner, one of France’s best-known criminal lawyers, has been found dead.
His body was found floating off his private island in Brittany.
A note was found at Olivier Metzner’s home and an investigation has been opened, with police treating the case as suicide.
Olivier Metzner made his name in a series of high-profile cases, defending the rogue trader Jerome Kerviel, former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, and Vivendi chief Jean-Marie Messier.
He was one of a handful of star lawyers in France, who between them have dominated the great court cases of the last two decades.
Olivier Metzner successfully defended former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, when he was accused of a conspiracy to defame President Nicolas Sarkozy, but his client Jerome Kerviel – who caused billions of euros in losses at the bank Societe Generale – was convicted.Other clients included the businessman and former head of Vivendi Jean-Marie Messier, who was convicted of fraud, and Continental Airlines, which was eventually cleared of criminal liability in causing the crash of a Concorde in Paris in 2000.
Rarely seen out of court without a large cigar, Olivier Metzner was renowned for his intricate understanding of the most complex cases, and multinational corporations regular sought his services.