Eva Joly: Investigating Magistrate - France (Integrity Award)

Filed under - Whistleblowing

Received the Award on 7 October 2001

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"Corruption is a universal problem. What we see is not a singular phenomenon, is not a curiosity, is not individuals having lost their direction. It looks like a system."
Eva Joly, Integrity Awards winner 2001

Eva Joly was an investigating magistrate for more than seven years. A Norwegian by birth, she came to France three decades ago. She was propelled into the limelight by her seven-year investigation of the Elf - Aquitaineoil company scandal, which involved corruption at the highest levels of business and political life in France.

In the course of this and other high-profiled investigations, Joly was subjected to intimidation and death threats, and remained under constant police protection.

Joly is seen as the leader of a new breed of judges who have not shied away from calling to account crooked businessmen and the French political elite. In a country where the lines between the judiciary and the executive have traditionally been blurred, her investigations into the affairs of highly influential politicians, such as Roland Dumas and Bernard Tapie, have made her the champion of determined efforts to uphold judicial independence and uncover a system of pervasive corruption.

The belief that lack of transparency can destroy democracy has been a strong motivation in her investigative work. "If the citizens of this country are convinced that government contracts are not being awarded with the public interest in mind but rather to fill the secret bank accounts of the political elites or to maintain their networks, the confidence of voters will be destroyed for decades to come," says Joly.

Joly has investigated financial crime in France with unprecedented zeal, ending a tradition of not treating high-class financial wrongdoings as crimes at all. "The great fiscal frauds involved very powerful and respectable people who were convinced - and still are - that they are entitled to be above the law.

Transparency International presented its Integrity Award to Eva Joly in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the fight against corruption in France and the example she has set for other members of the judiciary in her country and elsewhere, as well as her courage in the face of political danger.

Country / Territory - France   
Language(s) - English   
Topic - Whistleblowing   
Tags - Judges   |   Eva Joly   |   Scandals   |   Elf - Aquitaineoil company scandal   |   Roland Dumas   |   Bernard Tapie   

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