Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


French senator kills himself before 'Chinese wedding' trial

07 April 2015, 18:07

Tours - A French senator and former mayor of Tours, due to stand trial in a corruption case over fake Chinese wedding trips in the picturesque Loire valley city, killed himself Tuesday before the trial opened, authorities said.

Jean Germain, 67, seen as a close ally of President Francois Hollande, was found dead in the garage next to his house as the trial was due to begin, according to a police source.

"At 9:00am, neighbours heard a suspicious noise. It looks like it was a suicide with a hunting rifle," said local prosecutor Jean-Luc Beck.

Germain left a suicide note, saying he was being prosecuted "for political reasons", something he found "unbearable".

"You can be sure that I never embezzled a centime, that I did not take any money, that I always worked for what I believed to be in the best interests of the people of Tours," the note read.

A visibly moved Hollande said it was a "terrible tragedy that a man can commit suicide because he does not want his honour to be stained."

"A great elected official has died in particularly cruel circumstances," added the president.

Also read: Murder suspect Kekere-Ekun extradited to UK 

Germain supported Hollande during his 2012 presidential campaign, advising the future president on education policy.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he was "overwhelmed" by the news, adding: "I have lost a friend."

The current mayor of Tours, Serge Babary, ordered the flags in the western city to be flown at half-mast, saying: "Tours is in mourning."

'Thrown to the dogs'

Germain was due to stand trial on Tuesday for alleged complicity in a corruption case over Chinese "weddings" that took place in Tours between 2007 and 2011.

A member of his staff, Lise Han, stands accused of fraud, collusion and mishandling public funds.

While she was working at the City Hall on tourism issues, she was also allegedly running a private company organising the so-called wedding trips.

The trips did not include a real wedding ceremony but couples travelled long distances and paid large sums for what were billed as "romantic wedding" packages and were photographed in wedding attire in stunning locations, including the Tours City Hall.

The mayor even posed with the couples in his full official dress.

Although she had officially resigned from her job as head of the organising group, Time Sarl, she is accused of continuing to run the firm while at City Hall, which was in turn subcontracting the work to her firm.

Germain, who has said he was in the dark about the "lies and manipulations" of Han, stood accused of complicity in collusion and misappropriation of public funds.

His lawyer Dominique Tricaud told reporters at the opening of the trial: "The last time I saw him was last week. He said that no one in his family had ever stood accused in court.... He saw it as a sort of dishonour."

"He is a martyr of the Republic. He has been thrown to the dogs in this case," added the lawyer.

The trial, which was supposed to last until Friday, was postponed until October 13, said the presiding judge.


Tags murder

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...