Vincent Bolloré sentenced for abusive proceedings against a journalist: the Court of Cassation orders a third trial


The billionaire had filed a complaint against the journalist of France Inter Benoît Collombat and the former director of Calmann-Lévy editions, Florence Sultan, for a passage of the collective work Informing is not a crime, published in 2015.

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The Court of Cassation ordered, Tuesday, June 22, the holding of a third civil lawsuit concerning the defamation proceedings brought by Vincent Bolloré against a journalist from France Inter, after two convictions of the Bolloré group for abusive proceedings. The billionaire had filed a complaint against Benoît Collombat and Florence Sultan, former director of Calmann-Lévy editions, for a passage of the collective work Informing is not a crime.

This text, written by Benoît Collombat and published in 2015 alongside the writings of other journalists, likened the Bolloré group’s strategy against the media tos “driftnets”. The journalist described the proceedings initiated by the group for extracts from a long report broadcast in 2009 on France Inter and entitled “Cameroon, the black empire of Vincent Bolloré”. These prosecutions had resulted in a conviction of the radio station and its journalist in 2010, for defamation. In the proceedings against the book, this time, the Paris Criminal Court acquitted the journalist and the editor in 2019, condemning the group for abusive proceedings.

The billionaire had appealed against this conviction. The court then ruled only on the civil plane, the release of the defendants being final. She had confirmed, in 2020, the conviction for “abuse of civil party constitution “, considering that the company should pay 9,000 euros in damages to Benedict Collombat and 1000 euros to Florence Sultan. Billionaire Vincent Bolloré and his group, familiar with proceedings against journalists or the media, had also already been sentenced for “abusive procedure” in several other files.

The group then lodged an appeal in cassation. Tuesday, June 23, the highest court of the judicial order annulled this latest decision and ordered a new trial at the Paris Court of Appeal. The Court of Cassation ruled that the Court of Appeal had not considered all the “allegations” or “charges” potentially defamatory contained in the comments pursued by Bolloré.



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