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, one of France’s best-known criminal lawyers, has been found dead
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.
Police in Paris are questioning former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin over an embezzlement case involving a friend.
Dominique de Villepin has been placed under police custody for the interrogation, which was pre-arranged, a source told AFP news agency.
He is being asked about an alleged intervention in the Relais & Chateaux fraud inquiry, Le Monde reports.
The former prime minister previously denied involvement in the case.
Police in Paris are questioning former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin over an embezzlement case involving a friend
A close friend of Dominique de Villepin, Regis Bulot, is accused of embezzling 1.6 million euros ($2 million) between 2002 and 2008.
Regis Bulot, who formerly headed the Relais & Chateaux luxury small hotel association, has been in custody since November. He denies the charges against him.
The former prime minister was brought into the case when police secretly recorded a telephone conversation between the two men in early 2010.
In the bugged phone call, it is alleged that Dominique de Villepin claimed to have put pressure on the new management of Relais & Chateaux not to co-operate with the police investigation.
Dominique de Villepin was cleared a year ago of wrongdoing in an alleged smear campaign against former President Nicolas Sarkozy.