The boss of the photo agency BestImage "Mimi" Marchand was indicted Thursday in the investigation into the photos of the arrest last year of Piotr Pavlenski, Russian artist at the heart of the Griveaux affair. The "queen of the press people was indicted on August 12, said a judicial source on Tuesday, confirming information from Mediapart, for" concealment of violation of professional secrecy "and" extortion "in the judicial information relating to the Paris Match broadcast, in February 2020, photos of the arrest of Piotr Pavlenski. She was placed under judicial supervision. His lawyer, Me Caroline Toby, considers that, concerning the first count of indictment, “Mimi” Marchand “only did her job” as a journalist. “She had information and she exploited it,” she said.
According to Mediapart, Michèle Marchand (her real name) is also suspected of extortion to the detriment of television presenter Karine Le Marchand.
The latter seized the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN), the police force, "because it suspected officials of the police station of the XVIth arrondissement of Paris of providing paparazzi with information on celebrity complaints", writes the information site.
Regarding this aspect, "there is no offense", declared Me Toby, assuring that Karine Le Marchand had not lodged a complaint against Michèle Marchand but had seized the IGPN against the police officers.
A photographed arrest
Piotr Pavlenski was arrested with his partner Alexandra de Taddeo on February 15, 2020 in the west of Paris, in front of the lens of photographer Sebastien Valiela, who had been informed of the date and location of the operation. This arrest took place two days after the broadcast, claimed by Piotr Pavlenski, of videos of a sexual nature by Benjamin Griveaux, then LREM candidate for mayor of Paris, precipitating his withdrawal from the municipal battle on February 14, 2020.
Photos and a video showing Piotr Pavlenski lying face down on the ground with his hands shackled by handcuffs, had been released the following week by Paris Match. Photographer Sébastien Valiela, who works for BestImage, was indicted in this case in June. In September 2020, two police officers were also arrested for “breach of professional secrecy”.
“Mimi Marchand”, aged 74, has also been prosecuted since the beginning of June for her involvement in the resounding interview, broadcast in mid-November by BFMTV and Paris Match, of Ziad Takieddine, during which the sulphurous intermediary had withdrawn his accusations against Nicolas Sarkozy. The magistrates of the financial center of the Paris court suspect that this retraction could have been bought or at least remotely controlled fraudulently. The boss of BestImage spent a month in pre-trial detention in this investigation for not having respected its judicial control. She was released on July 21.