Can we talk about a love story between Olivier Metzner and Alexandre Despallières? In love, it takes two. In this story, Olivier Metzner is alone. But he doesn’t know it yet.
At that time, Olivier Metzner was everywhere, but loved by no one, and he did nothing to be so. For it is true, he is not a tenor of the courts…. but in private, or in front of microphones and cameras, he is formidable, always a good word, a well-honed spade. His freedom of tone flirts with contempt and insult. After the Kerviel trial, Éric Dupond-Moretti refuses to greet him.
Olivier Metzner ignores this disgust of which it is the subject. He almost enjoys it, traversing the courts with his shuffling gait, hidden behind his small half-moon glasses and the smoke from his large cigars (he is the only one who still allows himself to smoke inside the Palais de justice). Always on the go, never on vacation, “after three days I get bored,” he says. In truth, he would rather work than be alone.
I told him, ‘Grandpa, nothing will ever happen between us’
Then Olivier Metzner meets Alexandre Despallières. “I told him, ‘Grandpa, nothing will ever happen between us,’ I resisted him and therefore he was very much in love with me“, Alexandre will tell the investigators, ignoring the one he nicknamed “Patapouf”.
For almost 20 years, they will be lovers from time to time. Olivier Metzner has become one of the most expensive lawyers in Paris. He himself had driven to court in a Jaguar, owned a manor house in Rambouillet and supported this young man who captivated him. This and a few others, equally greedy and tyrannical. When Despallières goes to seek his fortune elsewhere, in California, Australia, he continues to send him Western Union money orders. When Peter Ikin dies, he houses him. But control has its limits.
Everything changes as he prepares to plead in the Bettencourt case: the police know his connections with Despallières, they want to hear about the disappearance of the former boss of Warner. He then discovers that his protégé’s course is littered with suspicious deaths, he catches a glimpse of what he could not imagine, what he perhaps did not want to see.
I missed my life, my real happiness would have been to be a sailor and go to sea…
A giddy moment… He leaves a final message: “I’m withdrawing from your case. Find another lawyer.” And it’s over: he no longer picks up his phone, he no longer pays money. Revenge is almost immediate: Despallières accuses him of having helped write a false will. He tries to pull her down. For such a secretive man as Olivier Metzner, the blow is hard. His private life, until then so carefully hidden, is exposed in the public square, his reputation tarnished… He can no longer ignore that he is alone, that he always has been. More than ever he isolates himself. Rambouillet is not far enough: he buys the island of Boëdic in Morbihan. A madness for 2.5 million euros, which he sold four times as much two years later to buy a boat, Teorem.
While discussing a cruise project in the Cyclades, Olivier Metzner was found drowned near his island in March 2013. “He didn’t know how to defend himself”, said one of his associates. He left a letter, the autopsy concludes with a suicide. A lonely death, drowned in this sea that has fascinated him since his youth.
He sailed with Tabarly, he often talks about it. It’s one of his fondest memories, and perhaps a bigger regret than you might imagine. This appears from this interview given in 1997 to the journalist Denis Robert. At the inflection of a question, tears rise. The lawyer asks to cut the camera, he breaks down in tears and makes this confession: “I missed my life. My real happiness would have been to be a sailor and go to sea…”
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