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Culture

Much anticipated book out in the UK

 Date:15/12/2006
 Type:Culture, Literature
 Location:Nationwide

For six long years the Norwegian-born judge Eva Joly investigated the financial scandal of the French state-owned petrol company Elf Aquitane and her revelations rocked France. Her book 'Justice Under Siege', which retells one woman’s battle against a European oil giant, has now been translated to English.

24/11/2006 :: In her investigations, Joly found that close to two billion pounds had been siphoned off to pay for luxurious lifestyles and bribes. To her great surprise, Joly was systematically hindered in her quest: she received regular death threats, her private and public telephones were illegally tapped, her home and offices burgled several times. For her courage and steadfastness, Joly paid a high price: four policemen had to guard her life around the clock for the six-year duration of the investigation. “I had no idea of the extent of the corruption,” she says, “I'd assumed that people in general respected the laws. But reality outstripped fiction. There was an ocean of fraud at the highest level. Every day I found something new.”

Eva Joly was born in Norway and went to Paris as an au pair at the age of 20. She stayed in France where she took evening classes and by 37 she had completed a doctorate in law. Aged 50, Joly moved to the Palais de Justice in Paris as an investigating magistrate. 

In the spring of 1994, one of France's most flamboyant public figures was the first to get a taste of Joly's judicial nouvelle cuisine. She investigated Bernard Tapie, owner of the hugely popular Marseilles football club and President Mitterrand's minister of urban affairs - and found a tax evader up to his elbows in fraud. But the Elf case did not become sensational until Joly zeroed in on Roland Dumas, former foreign minister under Mitterand. She learned of a £1 million luxury apartment and a £4,300 monthly expense budget allotted to Dumas's mistress Christine Deviers-Joncour, who had been put on the Elf payroll for unspecified duties. She locked up Deviers-Joncour, called Dumas in for questioning and personally presided over a search of his Parisian apartment.

Eva Joly now works as special advisor to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice in Oslo, assisting the Norwegian Government in fighting corruption. Joly is active around the world. She speaks out in favour of radical action against corruption, including international surveillance of bank accounts of major political and economic leaders. She initiated the Paris Declaration which puts forward a series of measures to drastically reduce international financial corruption. Joly has received the Transparency International’s Integrity Award, and been named ‘European of the Year’ by Reader's Digest magazine.

Eva Joly's 'Justice Under Siege' is out in the UK on 15 December



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Eva Joly's 'Justice Under Siege' is out in the UK on 15 DecemberPhoto: Arcadia

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