The judicial investigation into the "Griveauxgate" is commensurate with the fall of the former LREM candidate for mayor of Paris: surprisingly rapid. Open for "invasion of privacy," it resulted in the police custody of Piotr Pavlenski, the Russian activist behind the Internet dissemination of Benjamin Griveaux's sexual videos, within a few hours, and of his partner Alexandra De Taddeo, former liaison with the deposed politician.
The couple was still heard this Sunday evening in the premises of the brigade for the suppression of personal delinquency (BRDP) in Paris. The prosecution, which has just extended their police custody should take an orientation during the day Monday: refer the duo for an indictment or release them and continue the investigation.
VIDEO. Who is Piotr Pavlenski, the man who released the videos?
The police seek to trace the path of the compromising films and the real motivations of their broadcasters. As it stands, Piotr Pavlenski, 35, a political refugee in France known for his anti-Kremlin performances, claims the publication of the videos on his personal site, explaining that he wanted to denounce the discrepancy between the words of Benjamin Griveaux on his private life and his actions. "Political action," he pleads.
But it appears that it was his own partner, Alexandra De Taddeo, who was the correspondent of the former secretary of state. Did this 29-year-old law student knowingly transmit the videos to Pavlenski? Or has it been manipulated?
A form of revenge
According to our information, Alexandra De Taddeo began to speak to the investigators this Sunday, late afternoon. "She explained that she was not really on a political act like her companion, but rather on a personal line," said a close to the investigation. Clearly: the young woman, described as "paralyzed" and "overwhelmed by the scale of the facts", would have acted mainly in a form of revenge after having badly experienced, according to her, the behavior of Benjamin Griveaux.
According to initial investigations, she was the one who got in touch, on Facebook and Instagram, with the former secretary of state in the spring of 2018. After general discussions on politics, an intimate correspondence is said to have been established. She would have stopped a few months later after at least one physical meeting. According to a relative of Alexandra, she was absolutely not in a relationship with Pavlenski at the time of his exchanges with the politician.
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"In his complaint, Benjamin Griveaux effectively explains that he was unaware of the young woman's relationship with the Russian activist," slides one close to the file. On the other hand, he reported having noticed at the time on his Instagram account photos of Pavlenski with lips sewn. Nothing, therefore, says that the suspect did not know the Russian agitator before the start of their relationship in January 2019.
Camp Griveaux does not exclude the thesis of a trap or even a set-up aimed at weakening Emmanuel Macron. To investigators, the former candidate for mayor of Paris said that the intimate videos he transmitted in May 2018 automatically disappear one minute after their reading. However, the young woman seems to have recorded them at the time by a technical trick. Was it to constitute a compromising file (Kompromat)?
The influence of Juan Branco in question
A native of Metz and domiciled in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, Alexandra De Taddeo has been interested in Russian culture for many years. The young woman, who speaks five languages, devoted her dissertation to the faculty of Assas to "Russia's foreign policy towards the Arctic" and interviewed Slavic figures from the artistic world for confidential broadcasts. "I don't know anything about her political commitments, but she's an intelligent student," says her former thesis director.
Like her companion Plavenski, Alexandra De Taddeo is in contact with the lawyer Juan Branco, close to figures in the Yellow Vests movement and known for his anti-government positions. The trio were spotted in several photos taken in the evening before the case broke out. "She is a young woman from a fond family who discovers the world of the left, tendency to blow up the Republic", describes a close to the file. On the site where the intimate videos of Benjamin Griveaux had been published, De Taddeo is the author, with his boyfriend, of an interview with a pornographic actress entitled: “Puritanism in politics is the sign of an ideology of 'frustrated politicians'. The site, inactive since, promised other revelations of a sexual nature in the political world.
In this case, the role played by Juan Branco also interests the police. The young man repeats having given only "legal advice" on the publication of intimate videos. But investigators wonder if he had a greater influence. And if there has not been a reconciliation between political interests and private account settlement. The lawyer also claims to have been excluded from Pavlenski's defense by the Paris prosecutor's office who saw in it a possible conflict of interest since his name is mentioned in the investigation. He should be auditioned soon.
The couple spend the night in the PJ cells
"In this troubled affair, everything is possible," one argues in the entourage of Griveaux. A manipulation of Juan Branco by narcissism, like a larger manipulation. Benjamin Griveaux is in legal proceedings with Russian bodies like Russia Today. There is no evidence, however, at this stage to see Russian interference. Pavlenski enjoys political refugee status on the contrary because of his opposition to the government in power.
The Griveaux affair accelerated suddenly during the day on Saturday. After trying to arrest him the previous evening in a squat of artists from the 19th arrondissement, the police put their hands on Piotr Pavlenski and his companion at the exit of an Ibis hotel in the 16th around 17:15. It is a question of hearing them on… an alcoholic brawl that occurred on New Years in the apartment of Juan Branco's girlfriend.
Having heard of their arrest, Benjamin Griveaux rushes to the headquarters of the judicial police with his lawyer Me Richard Malka to file an oral complaint concerning the intimate videos. In less than an hour of analysis, the Paris prosecutor's office launched investigations. Pavlenski's hearing for "violence" is interrupted to switch to "invasion of privacy". His partner, who was heard as a witness for the fight on December 31, is in turn placed in police custody. The couple spend the night in the PJ cells. “Speed and haste do not mix well with the rigor expected in a judicial investigation. There is an astonishing procedural mix ”, denounces Me Marie-Alix Canu-Bernard, who represented the couple in the first hours before throwing in the towel.