The Paris public prosecutor’s office has requested a criminal trial for two tenors of the bar suspected of having produced false documents during a trial at the end of 2018 to try, in vain, to exonerate a European drug trafficker, we learned on Saturday from sources familiar with the matter. In its requisitions dated December 8, of which AFP was able to obtain elements, the public ministry requests that Messrs Joseph Cohen-Sabban and Xavier Nogueras be tried for “complicity in an attempted fraud in judgment” and “violation of professional secrecy “.
“The awareness of participating in a fraudulent enterprise”
After nearly three years of investigation, the two lawyers are suspected of having had “the awareness of participating in a fraudulent enterprise” aimed at exonerating Robert Dawes, one of the main European drug traffickers. The prosecution also requested a trial for this Briton, in particular for “attempted fraud in judgment”. The final decision on a trial rests with the investigating judge in charge of the case, Aude Buresi.
The case began with the trial at the Assizes in December 2018 in Paris of Robert Dawes, accused of importing 1.3 tons of cocaine in 2013 on board an Air France Caracas-Paris flight. He will be sentenced to twenty-two years’ imprisonment. At the opening of the proceedings, his lawyers had produced several documents which presented as illegal a vital telephone tapping for the prosecution. “Why is it not in the file?”, thundered Me Cohen-Sabban.
The two lawyers face five years in prison.
With his colleagues My Xavier Nogueras and Hugues Vigier, the lawyer had pounded the procedure and demanded the dismissal of the trial. But the court had rejected these documents, qualified as “false”. Judicial information will be opened in March 2019. For the prosecution, if Robert Dawes has since his cell “determined the strategy (…) aimed at producing falsified procedural documents”, the two lawyers, who face five years in prison , had a role “beyond flippancy or blindness: a willingness not to see” the ongoing fraud attempt.
“In no case did Me Nogueras participate in the facts of complicity in the attempted fraud in the judgment and he did not violate any ethical rules”, replied his advisers, My Matthieu Chirez and Hervé Temime. “After forty-four years of professional practice without a shadow, I was not going to jeopardize my personal and legal security in the midst of a matter of this magnitude. When I saw that there was a problem, I threw away what I was asked to produce”, defended himself to AFP Me Cohen-Sabban.