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French favours

A decade of corruption trials has chastened the French elite. But few heads have rolled and little has changed. What are the roots of French corruption?

By Tim King   January 2004

The business of uncovering corruption is not for the faint-hearted. In France, Eva Joly, the country’s best known magistrate, lived under 24-hour police protection for six years: six years spent in the knowledge that someone out there was being paid to track her and, given the opportunity, kill her. Joly didn’t investigate Colombian drug barons or mafia networks – her work took place in a country which is one of the world’s most civilised. She was investigating corruption among French politicians, lawyers and company directors.

Corruption is usually a crime of the elite, of those with access to money and…

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