Markovic affair

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The Markovic affair was a political scandal in France in the late 1960s, involving French President Georges Pompidou and movie star Alain Delon.

The affair began when one of Delon's bodyguards, Stevan Marković, was found dead, which caused his brother to start a feud with Delon and his friends, one of whom was Georges Pompidou. Both Delon and his longtime friend François Marcantoni were questioned by the police immediately after the murder. Marcantoni was originally charged for the murder, but after further questioning by the police, he was released.[1] Later, the drama continued when supposedly-inappropriate photos of Claude Pompidou, were found. A former police chief, Lucien Aimé-Blanc, who had been involved in obtaining the photos, stated that they had been planted by old Gaullist clans who had long had animosity against Pompidou.[2] That led to controversy over whether the photos were real. Marković's murder is still unsolved.

Life and death of Stevan Marković[edit]

Marković was the ex-bodyguard of movie star Alain Delon. A major gambler who was often suspected of cheating, Marković was known especially for his high-class parties at which, it was alleged, he would set up secret cameras throughout the house, especially in the bedrooms.[3] He thus had collected many questionable photos of the guests that could have damaged their social status. He most likely used the pictures for blackmail, especially since he approached several newspapers trying to sell them. Surprisingly, some of these photographs would be alleged to be directly targeting Delon and Marcantoni themselves.[3] However, the most important photos that Marković supposedly possessed had scandalous shots of Pompidou's wife. That was a major concern to Pompidou, who was preparing to run for president of France.[1] Then on October 1, 1968, in the village of Élancourt, Yvelines, west of Paris, the body of Stevan Marković was found in a public dump. Although many people had a reason to kill him, his murder is still unsolved.

Alain Delon and François Marcantoni's involvement[edit]

It was alleged that star actor Alain Delon communicated with French gangsters, such as Z, Bimbo, and Petit René. Suspiciously, many of them violently died after meeting Delon. However, Corsican François Marcantoni was Delon's closest gangster-friend.[1] When Delon's bodyguard, Marković, mysteriously died, Marcantoni and Delon came under investigation. One of the factors pointing in that direction was a letter by Marković to his brother Aleksandar in which he wrote: "If I get killed, it's 100% the fault of Alain Delon and his godfather François Marcantoni." Marcantoni was initially charged with the murder. However, after being questioned by the police, the charges were eventually dropped, and the crime is still unsolved.

Georges Pompidou's involvement[edit]

The death of Stevan Marković provoked a great deal of rumours, many suggesting the existence of group sex photos with Madame Pompidou. Pompidou was then running his campaign for presidency and wanted to dispel them as soon as possible. He formally told the public that all the talk concerning the Marković affair were rumours.[3] Pompidou himself accused Louis Wallon and Henri Capitant of using the French espionage service SDECE to set him up. He admitted that he had been at parties with his wife and Stevan Marković and Alain Delon. However, many theories claimed that Pompidou ordered Marković's murder for revenge against the supposed photos of his wife. Even though he claimed the woman in the photos was a prostitute who simply greatly looked like his wife, the rumours would still hurt his campaign.[2] After he still won the 1969 election, he named Alexandre de Marenches as the head of the SDECE to reform it.

Madame Pompidou's involvement[edit]

The Marković affair was a play to ruin Georges Pompidou's reputation by hurting the public image of his wife. There were alleged compromising photos of Madame Pompidou. Later, information showed that it was not Madame Pompidou in the photos but a prostitute who had been hired by a former police chief, Luicien Aimé-Blanc, who had long been involved with the intelligence agency, the SDECE. An anonymous friend of Amié-Blanc asked him to produce a prostitute who was blonde and in her forties, but Aimé-Blanc did not know that the woman would be used as Madame Pompidou's lookalike. The prostitute was then photographed in compromising positions with another woman. The photos were found in Marković's car after his body had been found. However, it is still unknown whether it was the prostitute or Madame Pompidou.[2]

Aftermath[edit]

Bernard Violet wrote Les Mystères Delon, a book about Alain Delon, published in 2000. It was the first book in French legal history to have been banned before it was officially allowed to be sold, allegedly because Delon, the only remaining person associated with the affair to be still alive, did not approve of it. However, it was still sold in France.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Jon Henley, "Nervous publisher sneaks biography of Delon into shops" The Guardian, September 29, 2000
  2. ^ a b c Malcolm Anderson, In Thrall To Political Change: Police And Gendarmerie In France. (Oxford: Oxford, 2011), 237.
  3. ^ a b c Paul Ghali, "Marković Affair: Paris 'Dolce Vita' A web of Murder, Sex and Politics" The Pittsburgh Press, April 14, 1969.