These famous fugitives: Didier Schuller, from the Caribbean to French prisons

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The scene takes place in Lille in the late 1990s. The then Minister of the Interior, Jean-Pierre Chevenement, is presented with a new software designed to facilitate the search for suspects by a certain Jacques Franquet, the delegate prefect for security. "Type" Schuller ", Chevènement starts him. I spell it? "

The question does not lack spice. In 1995, Jacques Franquet, then the first cop in France, was forced to resign from his post as Central Director of the Judicial Police following his involvement in the case … Didier Schuller. And when Chevènement meets Franquet in Lille, the former elected RPR has been on the run for three years. Not at all, at least officially.

If Didier Schuller speaks, heads will fall

Didier Schuller, former general counsel of Clichy, candidate for mayor of the city of Hauts-de-Seine and close circles RPR "92", those of Charles Pasqua and Patrick Balkany, set sail after an incredible operation that, still today, keeps its share of secrets.

It all started in 1994, when a "small" 34-year-old investigating judge, Eric Halphen, began to pay close attention to the HLM offices in Paris and the Hauts-de-Seine, which were rightly suspected of multiplying false invoices to finance the RPR. The activities of Didier Schuller are particularly targeted.

At the end of 1994, Judge Halphen's father-in-law, Jean-Pierre Maréchal, was arrested at Roissy airport while Schuller handed him 1 million francs, the equivalent of 210,000 euros today. A deposit for this psychiatrist to intervene with his son-in-law so that the latter ceases his investigation. An extortion of funds, will defend Schuller, who will file a complaint against the doctor. A manipulation made by the RPR to remove the judge Halphen, said Maréchal. The atmosphere around Didier Schuller becomes suffocating. He knows too much. If he speaks, he risks making more than one fall.

In February 1995, the elected official fled to Switzerland. Today, he tells us, after writing a book "I'm coming back" in 2002, the series of events that have changed his life. "I leave for Geneva when I am told that there will be a search of my electoral permanence. I'm leaving to take a little distance. My lawyer also tells me: It would be nice if you took a vacation. "

In Switzerland, he dines with a character he meets for the first time and is presented as "the correspondent of the DGSE (Directorate General of External Security, Editor's note) in Bangui", in the Central African Republic. This man is Alexandre Djouhri, adventurer and intermediary inescapable circles of power. "Djouhri says to me: You better shoot yourself, I come specially from Africa to warn you. Schuller mentions death threats.

Direction the Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, Didier Schuller lives in a luxury villa. Jean-Louis Atlan / Scoop
In the Dominican Republic, Didier Schuller lives in a luxury villa. Jean-Louis Atlan / Scoop

After Switzerland, the elected will win London to meet international lawyers and determine the best destination to go green. It will be the Bahamas. "I'm told it's the perfect place to wait quietly. "

Direction Nassau, the capital of the archipelago, with his companion and two daughters. "It only lasted three months. "Hoping to return to France, he takes his tickets back … before" we "advised him to" wait for the presidential election and that laws are out ". In truth, nobody wants him to come back. His "removal" will not prevent the defeat of the Prime Minister, the Gaullist Edouard Balladur, in the first round, in April 1995.

In the Bahamas, the ex-elected feels like in a "golden cage". The landscape seems too monotonous. "It was very razor-sharp," he says today. Above all, he tends to meet many French, like the singer Régine. Embarrassing, especially since June 1995, it is covered by an international arrest warrant. Spotted in 1997, Schuller joined the Dominican Republic and its capital, Santo Domingo.

The former elected RPR had a Dominican identity card. Gilles Bassignac / Gamma
The former elected RPR had a Dominican identity card. Gilles Bassignac / Gamma

There, a "paradise" opens to him. "I loved it," he says. The enarque already has friends, a family of rum producers. And he does what he can do: politics. "I used my skills," said the candidate for the legislative elections in Belfort in 1978 and member of various cabinet ministers. I took care of the Dominican presidential campaign of 2000. The Leader of the Opposition won, it was quite exciting. The conditions were very pleasant. I was very close to power. "

Sufficient in any case to shelter from the red notice of Interpol, this system of location supposed to track down to the end of the world.

Seven fake real passports

Latin America, Africa … For seven years, despite this arrest warrant, Didier Schuller connects travel. How? With "some" passports. Not diplomatic documents, but "false-real passports", he amuses himself. The fashion of the time. An authentic document, established under a false identity. "I was pretty sure of myself with these passports," says Schuller. Their source was good enough, I was not worried … "

If he today confides to have benefited from not less than seven false-real passports, he refuses to say more about their origin. "I had these documents because nobody had an interest in me coming back," he says. Chirac even called the Dominican president, Hipolito Mejia Dominguez, to advise me to go to Colombia, "the ex-fugitive claims today. Unverifiable statements …

The man also recounts that at that time he had dinner with the highest Dominican authorities, "sitting next to the director general of the police". " It was nice ! Serene, he brought his effects and furniture stayed in France via Germany, to decorate "a beautiful house in a beautiful place on the north coast" of the island, a subdivision managed by "the American Honorary Consul , a friend ". A euphemism to describe his residence, nestled in an ultra-protected complex for millionaires. "It was not a runaway. I was not hidden, I did not live in a cabin. And I rebuilt a life there. "

Balanced by his son

Didier Schuller, accompanied by his lawyer
Didier Schuller, accompanied by his lawyer

Finally, Schuller is overtaken by family stories. At the end of January 2002, in "Le Parisien" and "Canal +", his son Antoine, born of a previous bed, spits out: his father lives in the Dominican Republic. A vaudeville in which also participates the singer Marie Laforêt, former friend of the family, who would have pushed the young man to speak. Schuller decides to return to France.

On February 5, "the man who knows too much" arrives in Roissy. "Two hundred policemen are waiting for me, the terminal is closed, TF1 is a live on the arrival of my plane. He is imprisoned at the Paris prison of health for three weeks. Trial time will come later.

In 2007, he was finally sentenced to one year and two years suspended for trading in influence and concealment of abuse of property – he will serve his sentence in the Bas-Rhin, where he is domiciled. "We screwed my life up. I lost everything, he analyzes today. I exploded in flight at 47 years old. I was used. I was only a small councilor general of Hauts-de-Seine and I found myself in a state affair. "

VIDEO. 2014: in Clichy, locals talk about the return of Didier Schuller

After going to the municipal elections in Clichy in 2014, he is now retired, but is doing "international council". At 72, Didier Schuller says he renounced the policy. However, he often returns to the Dominican Republic and may be tempted to advise the opposition candidate, who is the brother of his "best friend", for the 2020 presidential election.

For now, he lives in Alsace and devotes himself to hunting, his passion. "I did not enrich myself, it's not the same as other people currently judged," he says. And if we had to do it again ? "I will not complain to Marshal," he breathes. I did it because I was asked. "

Didier Schuller, HLM at the prison

June 8, 1947: birth of Didier Schuller in Paris.

1986: he became director of the office HLM Hauts-de-Seine.

1994: Judge Eric Halphen investigates the false invoices of HLM offices in Paris and Hauts-de-Seine. Didier Schuller, new General Counsel RPR of Clichy, is targeted.

December 1994: Judge Halphen's father-in-law, Jean-Pierre Maréchal, is arrested while Schuller hands him money.

1995: Schuller moved to the Bahamas and then to the Dominican Republic in 1997.

2002: his eldest son Antoine reveals to the press his place of exile. The fugitive returns to the Hexagon.

2007: he is finally sentenced to three years in prison, one of which is closed.

2010: he is released after a few months of imprisonment.

READ ALSO> Gilles Bertin, thirty years on the run

Next week: the adventures of Corsica Richard Casanova, pillar of the gang of the Sea Breeze and fugitive network well provided

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