“The Chained Duck”: investigation opened after the newspaper’s complaint for illegal digital search

The Paris prosecutor's office announced on Wednesday March 27 the opening of an investigation after the complaint filed by Le Canard chainé at the beginning of March for illegal digital search

“The Chained Duck”: investigation opened after the newspaper’s complaint for illegal digital search

The Paris prosecutor's office announced on Wednesday March 27 the opening of an investigation after the complaint filed by Le Canard chainé at the beginning of March for illegal digital search.

The investigation was entrusted to the General Inspectorate of the National Police (IGPN) and concerns “possible offenses of fraudulent introduction, extraction and reproduction of data from an automated processing system and false public writing by a depository person of public authority,” said the prosecution. “I take note and am delighted that the complaint is being processed”, reacted to AFP the lawyer of Le Canard chainé, Didier Leick.

The accusations refer to a report dated July 22, 2022 from the financial brigade of the Paris judicial police, of which Agence France-Presse (AFP) was aware, reporting the consultation by an investigator of a “link » digital provided by one of the newspaper's journalists, Christophe Nobili. This link gave access, according to the investigator, “to the cover page of the digital documentation system of Le Canard chainé”.

Access to the newspaper's "private Wi-Fi network"

The report was drawn up as part of an investigation by the Paris prosecutor's office linked to suspicions of fictitious employment within the satirical weekly. In 2022, Christophe Nobili filed a complaint claiming that the partner of a former cartoonist and administrator of the newspaper, André Escaro, had benefited from remuneration from the newspaper for twenty-five years without having worked there, which management disputes. Two former bosses of the weekly are to be tried in October in this case.

In its complaint, the management of the weekly specifies that access to the database “is only possible with a password on the condition of being connected to the internal Wi-Fi network, which implies d 'be present in the newspaper's premises or in the immediate vicinity'. As the system has only been accessible from a “VPN” since the fall of 2023, more than a year after the report was drawn up, the investigator “necessarily had to take control of it remotely”, reported to AFP two of the newspaper's directors, Erik Emptaz and Hervé Liffran. However, no authorization to carry out a digital search under the authority of a magistrate appears in the report, according to them.

These facts “are particularly serious”, they noted: “Once introduced into the private Wi-Fi network of Le Canard, the investigating service found itself in a position to access much more confidential data. » The satirical weekly denounced facts “undermining all the pillars of our rule of law”, the entity targeted being a press company.