Body and Soul

Roland Dumas has been many things in his life—Resistance fighter, lawyer, politician, art collector, Foreign Minister and, most recently, president of France’s highest tribunal. But last week, as the silver-haired ex-barrister faced charges that he had pressured a state-owned oil company to hire his mistress and lived grandly off her income, Dumas played a role he had never imagined: defendant.

Along with his ex-lover Christine Deviers-Joncour and five other defendants, Dumas, 78, stands accused of “abusing” company funds. The prosecution claims that in 1989 Dumas used his influence as Foreign Minister to win a sinecure position at Elf Aquitaine for...

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