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The Sperone golf affair: a podcast from our series “At the heart of crime”

The phone call lasted a few minutes and goes back almost twenty-five years. But Pascal Garbarini ensures that he will remember it until the end of his days. ” And for good reason, he said, I almost lost my lawyer dress there, and even my life … “ Not to mention his ideals that fell apart in the months that followed, with the brief telephone conversation having engendered all manner of consequences – including unexpected sentimental jolts – which, in the end, were more effective in undermining the nationalist movement than any of them. the assaults of the Raid or the GIGN combined. But let’s not anticipate.

The “Sperone golf course” affair

The cursed call dates from December 10, 1996. “Master Garbarini, you will tell your Gulliver that my name is not Dumb! », Launches a furious voice in the receiver. The lawyer, then 32 years old and Parisian tenor in the making, remains silent. He has already heard green and unripe ones on the island. But the extraordinary trips to Lilliput or the dwarves of Snow White are out of the ordinary. Perhaps because the man who gives him soap on the phone, Jacques Dewez, is a pinzutu, as they say in Corsica: a French from the continent. Former fighter pilot converted into real estate development, he is also the proud owner of a golf course, ranked among the most beautiful in the world, located in Sperone, south of Bonifacio, in the middle of the maquis, with a view breathtaking.

In this corner of paradise, however, peace has once again been disturbed in this winter of 1996. This is why Jacques Dewez gasps with anger. And that is why he complains to Pascal Garbarini, lawyer for the nationalist leaders. The night before, he finally explained to her, he received a visit from an enigmatic “Mr. Gulliver”. In the name of the FLNC (Corsican National Liberation Front), it wanted to extort 4 million francs from it. A sum corresponding to the famous “revolutionary tax” practiced by armed nationalists and to which Dewez refused to submit.

Two years earlier, his golf course has already been plasticized. But he won’t give in. No way to pay, he storms in M’s eare Garbarini. Alas, forty-eight hours later, on December 12, his green was blown a second time and the island authorities reacted more quickly than usual. Barely three days pass before the arrest of a man, or rather a woman suspected of being at the origin of the attempted extortion: Marie-Hélène Mattei. In other words, one of the muses of the Corsican nationalist movement, a staunch defender of the activists and bombers of the FLNC.

> Discover our full article on this case:

Me Pascal Garbarini and the “Sperone golf” affair: “I almost lost my lawyer dress, and even my life…”

“At the heart of crime”: find our previous podcasts

Guy Georges, Grégory, Baron Empain… In the first season of the podcast series “Au cœur du crime”, “l’Obs” looked back on the major legal cases of the last forty years by giving a voice to those who have them. were the protagonists:

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Eric Yung joined the police force at age 21. He joined an elite service, the anti-gang, intervened during bloody hostage-taking, surprised robbers in flagrante delicto and challenged the kidnappers of Baron Empain. He will however be expelled from the police for having broken the omerta during the investigation into the murder of Jean de Broglie.

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Solange Doumic, lawyer, participates when she is just 30 years old, in the worst trial of the decade: that of serial killer Guy Georges prosecuted for having killed seven young women. He fiercely denies. Through her questions, Solange Doumic manages to extract a confession from her.

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Laurence Lacour has just celebrated her 27th birthday when the editorial staff of Europe 1 sends her to report in the Vosges to cover the death of little Grégory. She comes back traumatized, decides to change profession and reveals in the testimony she gives today to “Obs” the reprehensible practices of the police officers, gendarmes and her colleagues.

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Henri Leclerc is a monument of the bar. Aged 84, this tireless human rights activist has been advocating for more than half a century. In Grenoble, at the start of the 1990s, after a memorable hearing, he succeeded in acquitting Richard Roman, a marginal, who had been wrongly accused of having murdered a young girl.


Angelique, she was barely 18 when she disappeared one evening, near Compiègne. Her mother, Marie-Pierre, will fight for fifteen years for the murderer of her daughter to be found. His fight will lead to the establishment of the first DNA file in France.

This podcast was produced by Julien Bouisset. An interview signed by Matthieu Aron. A montage by Cyril Bonnet. Music by Mikhaël Gautier. Editorial direction, Matthieu Aron.

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