Monday

21st Jan 2019

French MEP charged in 'Air Cocaine' case

  • MEP Aymeric Chauprade is charged for helping two Frenchmen escape from a Dominican prison (Photo: European Parliament)

French far-right MEP Aymeric Chauprade was put under an arrest warrant by the Dominican Republic on Monday (23 November) over his role in what has been dubbed the "Air Cocaine affair" by French media.

Chauprade, who until recently was part of Marine Le Pen's National Front party, is charged because he helped two Frenchmen escape from a Dominican prison in October.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The two men, Pascal Fauret and Bruno Odos, had been in prison over accusations of transporting 700 kilos of cocaine in the business plane they were piloting in 2013.

After an inquiry and a trial which many said had irregularities, they were serving a 20-year sentence when they escaped.

They are now in prison in Marseille because the French prosecutors are also investigating the affair.

Chauprade helped in the jailbreak, with two other men who were also charged by the Dominican authorities: Christophe Naudin, a criminologist and aviation expert, and Peter Malinowski, a parliamentary assistant to Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the National Front and also an MEP.

Chauprade said he helped because he is an old friend of Naudin and because he believed the two pilots, who are former military men, are innocent.

The MEP is himself a reserve officer in the French Navy. He was a teacher at the joint-army college of defence, but was fired by the defense minister in 2009 because of his conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks.

He was elected to the EU Parliament in 2014 and has sat with non-attached MEPs since he left the National Front earlier this month. He left in part due to the Air Cocaine affair and due to political differences with Marine Le Pen.

A specialist in geopolitics, Chauprade was Le Pen's international adviser and was instrumental in forging close ties between the French far-right leader and the Russian regime.

He says, however, that he was not involved in the talks that led to a Russian bank lending money to the party.

Chauprade and Le Pen eventually fell out. Le Pen said Chauprade was undisciplined and had "broken trust."

The exact charges by the Dominican justice are "illegal trafficking of people and slave trafficking." Chauprade said they were "exuberant" and "madcap."

"I'm surprised, because a warrant is usually issued in two cases: either when the person was summoned or when he did not execute a decision of justice," he told the AFP press agency.

Chauprade benefits from parliamentary immunity. But this could be lifted by the European Parliament after a procedure in which he would also be heard.

The procedure to waive Chauprade's immunity will be launched only if the parliament receives a formal letter from the Dominican authorities.



So far, a source close to Chauprade told EUobserver, Interpol has not confirmed it will relay the Dominican warrant, which therefore remains a national warrant.

Chauprade is currently in Strasbourg attending the parliament's plenary session.

MEPs redouble appeal on sexual harassment

The EU parliament's internal chiefs have so far refused to introduce mandatory training on dealing with sexual harassment. MEPs have now asked for it again.

Centre-right MEPs want transparency vote to be secret

A number of centre-right MEPs are pushing for a secret ballot on a plenary vote that would make EU lawmakers more transparent and accountable to the public - in a move described as "absurd" by Transparency International.

Lead MEP on Morocco resigns as her report passes

MEPs ultimately adopted a controversial report on an EU trade deal with Morocco - despite the sudden resignation by French liberal Patricia Lalonde as the file's rapporteur only moments beforehand. Her departure follows an EUobserver investigation into lobbying by Morocco.

News in Brief

  1. French data watchdog gives Google €50m fine
  2. EU hits Russians with sanctions over Salisbury attack
  3. 'Don't look for answers to Brussels', EU tells UK
  4. Germany warns UK not to 'misuse' EU patience on Brexit
  5. Germany sent 8,658 asylum-seekers to other EU states
  6. Poll: Macron popularity up four percent
  7. 'Economy is broken' says Oxfam in global inequality report
  8. Vestager under pressure to allow Siemens-Alstom deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us