It will become, like so many Corsican cases, one of the accursed cases of the specialized interregional jurisdiction (JIRS) of Marseille. The one that cannot be judged. Constantly cancelled, returned, invalidated… Monday, May 16, the Aix-en-Provence investigating chamber ordered additional information in the Sollacaro file, named after the former president of Ajaccio, killed a morning in October 2012 at a downtown gas station by a man on a motorbike. The death of this criminal lawyer among the most feared on the island, who had defended nationalists, Yvan Colonna and members of organized crime, had caused a shock wave within the island civil society and was part of a series of assassinations in the Ajaccio region targeting notables and business leaders.
The decision of the investigating chamber pushes back the date of the trial a little further, in this case where appeals and requests have been linked. It reverses the order of indictment (OMA) issued last January by the investigating judges and which opened the way to a trial before the Assize Court of Bouches-du-Rhône for four people, all members or close to the criminal gang known as the “Petit Bar”, named after a café located on Cours Napoléon, in Ajaccio, where its members met. She is described by the judges as a “criminal organization […] responding to the pursuit of occult activities suitable for ensuring the wealth of the clan and the realization of criminal projects for the elimination of individuals representing a brake on the hegemonic will of the organization to extend its hold on the economic fabric of the Isle “.
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The judges had decided to dismiss Jacques Santoni, 44, considered the godfather of the Petit Bar gang, for complicity in the assassination of Antoine Sollacaro. One of his alleged lieutenants, André Bacchiolelli, 54, for murder. Mickaël Ettori, 46, another alleged lieutenant of the Petit Bar, and Patrick Giovannoni, 52, for criminal association with a view to preparing a crime.
Le Petit Bar, the all-powerful and elusive clan that rules Corsica
Except that these investigations are parasitized from the beginning by a kind of black hole, constantly denounced by the defense. The investigation was indeed able to advance thanks to the confessions and statements of one of the people returned, Patrick Giovannoni, ex-small hand of the criminal gang who has since become repentant and protected by the State. This man who has long frequented the Petit Bar has questioned in sometimes very detailed statements the responsibility of its members in murder cases, including that of Antoine Sollacaro. Charged by its members with hiding weapons, it was also indicted in another case, known as that of the “weapons cache”. And it is in this second file that he was able to benefit from the status of repentant. But this second investigation, although directly linked to that of the assassination of Antoine Sollacaro, was not paid in full to the Sollacaro file.
“Equality of Arms”
A point constantly denounced by Mr.and Pascal Garbarini, lawyer for Jacques Santoni, who therefore appealed against the OMA and who has just won his case. The additional information ordered by the Aix-en-Provence investigation chamber on May 16 aims to communicate this “weapons cache” file in the Sollacaro procedure. It also opens the way to new requests for acts by the defense. Upon the announcement of this additional information, Mr.and Garbarini reacted:
“It’s a great satisfaction for the defense. We will thus have access to procedural elements that were hidden until now. The public prosecutor had access to it, it allows a rebalancing of weapons. »
Since the beginning of the investigation, the defense lawyers have always questioned the confessions of the repentant, instrumentalized according to them by the authorities. Considered a small hand of the criminal gang, after contracting debts to some of them, Patrick Giovannoni incriminated the Petit Bar gang in several cases. In the Sollacaro file, he said he heard Jacques Santoni boast about this assassination.
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CASE. The Petit Bar saga, the gang that reigns over southern Corsica
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“It was we who hit” the presumed chief of this clan would have told him, without giving him precise information on the direct authors of this assassination. “I ask him if it’s them, he answers yes, Giovannoni had continued. I told him they were going too far, that he was a lawyer, that they were going to have all the police on their backs. He told me he knew the risks he was taking. »
Following these declarations, Patrick Giovannoni joined the program of “collaborators of justice”, he was able to change his identity and benefit from protection. He has since been convicted in another murder case for complicity, that of the nationalist Antoine Nivaggionni in 2010, alongside another alleged lieutenant of the Petit Bar. He had parked a car for a few days in front of the man’s home, then freed the place for the killers’ vehicle. Several of the people indicted in the Sollacaro case are currently targeted by another investigation, this time attacking the financial aspect of the Petit Bar gang.