Assassination near Montpellier of Christian Poucet, the leader of the CDCA: why the investigation is relaunched 23 years after the crime

Assassination near Montpellier of Christian Poucet, the leader of the CDCA: why the investigation is relaunched 23 years after the crime

Christian Poucet lors de l’une des dernières actions de la CDCDAE, le blocage de l’A9 près de Montpellier. Midi Libre – JEAN MICHEL MART

This controversial figure was at the head of a violent movement, encouraging artisans and traders to contribute to private insurance companies based in tax havens. He was shot dead by two hooded killers on January 29, 2001 in his company in Baillargues (Hérault). After a dismissal of the case by the courts in 2014, a new judicial investigation was opened in 2023 by the Montpellier public prosecutor's office.

"What I want is that this time, we get there, and that we go to the end. This is the last hope" Alexandra Poucet, 40, who lives near Gignac (Hérault), is almost surprised to have been questioned on June 28 last by an investigating judge from Montpellier, who is once again trying to elucidate the assassination of her father, shot dead by two killers in Baillargues on January 29, 2001. < /p>

"I was 16, the high school principal came to pick me up from the class, so that my mother would tell me" she remembers. Because at that time when the internet was in its infancy, the announcement of the assassination of Christian Poucet had nevertheless spread like wildfire in France.

One of the most sulphurous personalities in the region

At 44, Christian Poucet, a former shoe salesman in Grande-Motte, became one of the region's most controversial personalities in the 1990s, taking the helm of a movement social and financial fighting against pension and social security funds. The Confederation for the Defense of Traders and Craftsmen encouraged its members to relocate their businesses to tax havens, to take out private contracts for their retirement or medical expenses. And took very lucrative commissions along the way.

Downtown Montpellier ransacked

All at the cost of a real standoff with these organizations and the bailiffs, whose premises were regularly ransacked during violent actions by the CDCA. In December 1996, when Christian Poucet was arrested for having threatened the death of a magistrate, thousands of demonstrators ransacked the center of Montpellier. Their leader will be sentenced to one year and the revocation of two years of suspended sentence. Released 13 months later, he resumed his activities, while playing big at the casino, traveling by private plane and driving a Chevrolet Corvette.

Revelations in Midi Libre a year later

The investigation stalled for several months, and was relaunched by an article in Midi Libre in January 2002, citing the testimony of a Brazilian, Alexandre Maïa Louchard, who has just made disturbing confessions to the Diario de Noticias, a Madeira newspaper. Just before his death, Christian Poucet was at loggerheads with Maria Mendez, a Portuguese businesswoman who initially had his full trust: she managed the relocated companies and the CDCA accounts in Madeira. The latter then lives with Eric Grandjean, a very close friend of Christian Poucet's wife, while all four of them are said to have met in the swingers' clubs of Cap d'Agde.

Death threats and blocked funds

But in the winter of 2000-2001, the love story is over: Maria Mendez has had large sums of money belonging to her blocked in Madeira, Christian Poucet schemes to embezzle his members, and death threats have been made.

The Brazilian, then bodyguard of Maria Mendez and her husband Eric Grandjean, explains having accompanied the latter from Lisbon to Luxembourg, in a rented Mercedes, to deposit a large sum of money. ;money. They would have, in passing, scouted the home and office of the leader of the CDCA and recruited a killer in Marseille, for 150,000 dollars. Two days later, Christian Poucet was assassinated.

Surprise dismissal in 2004

This scenario, the judge and the PJ of Montpellier will spend years trying to verify it. The Mercedes covered 7,967 km around the crime scene. But between the slowness of international procedures, and the categorical denials of the bodyguard, who swore in 2010 that he had never spoken to a journalist, the case fizzled out: the judge decided; in 2014 a surprise dismissal, which disconcerts the PJ.

But the media are not giving up. In Madeira, articles mention after 2015 confessions made by the Brazilian to relatives: he himself allegedly shot Christian Poucet on the orders of Maria Mendez . In March 2023, Midi Librepublishes a new article, evoking a documentary by TF1, linking the assassination of Christian Poucet to the disappearance at sea of ​​Doctor Yves Godard, in 1999, who was also a member of the CDCA. An inconclusive lead, but which allowed journalists to collect new testimonies on the Brazilian's troubled role.

Facts reclassified as assassination in 2023

"These elements constitute new charges justifying the reopening of the judicial investigation" written on 7&nbsp ;April 2023 the Montpellier public prosecutor's office, which reclassifies the facts as assassination.

"The investigating judge must issue arrest warrants" estimates today hui Me Marc Gallix, civil party for Alexandra Poucet."If we don’not manage to take the three main characters in this affair into custody, or even under investigation, we’will never succeed".

The task promises to be difficult

The task could prove difficult: Maria Mendez, who has become a bailiff, and who is the target of an investigation into a fraud involving two million euros, seems to have solid support in Madeira, where his trial was postponed several times. Eric Grandjean divides his time between France and Romania. As for the Brazilian, he still lives in Salvador de Bahia, where he has been in trouble with the law eight times since he left Europe. And investigators risk being seriously lacking in decisive evidence: recent assessments carried out on the shell casings taken from the crime scene did not make it possible to find the slightest trace of DNA.

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