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May 13, 2024 French

François de Grossouvre, conseiller et ami de François Mitterrand, a mis fin à ses jours hier soir [7 avril] dans son bureau de l'Élysée

Card Number 28885

Chazal, Claire
Brunetti, Denis
Marie, Isabelle
Lefèvre, Antoine
8 avril 1994
Time zone
Journal de 20 heures [1/2] [7:59]
François de Grossouvre, conseiller et ami de François Mitterrand, a mis fin à ses jours hier soir [7 avril] dans son bureau de l'Élysée
Plusieurs témoins affirment avoir vu récemment François de Grossouvre déprimé et fatigué.
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- The suicide of François de Grossouvre: the adviser and friend of François Mitterrand ended his life last night [April 7] in his office at the Élysée. His funeral will take place on Monday [April 11] in Allier.
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- The information reached us last night [April 7] shortly after 8:30 p.m., the drama was taking place inside the Élysée Palace itself. François de Grossouvre, a close friend of François Mitterrand and chairman of the presidential hunting committee, was found dead in his office. At 76, this former adviser to the Élysée Palace shot himself in the head.
- In the avenue de Marigny where the window of François de Grossouvre opened, no one heard the shot. The first floor office is soundproofed and the adjoining rooms were empty. The Élysée Palace did not know anything until the driver and the bodyguard, without news, came to discover François de Grossouvre lying with a revolver in his hand and the bullet fired under his chin. The military doctor on duty could only confirm the death. Police officers from the first DPJ [Directorate of the judicial police] arrived quickly. A policeman: "We were called and for the moment we don't know what it is exactly. We'll see".
- Due to the circumstances, the director of the judicial police Claude Cancès and the deputy Bernard Pagès moved for the usual findings: fingerprints, photos, plans of the premises.
- François de Grossouvre arrived around 6 p.m. at the Élysée in this office located in the west wing, quite far from that of François Mitterrand. Investigators did not find a posthumous letter and began to interview those who discovered the body: the driver and the bodyguard, a gendarme from the close protection group.
- The Élysée Palace itself remained very discreet throughout the evening, despite the comings and goings. We just saw Jack Lang and the general secretary, Anne Lauvergeon.
- A very brief official press release confirmed the suicide late at night, while an ambulance carried the mortal remains of François de Grossouvre to the forensic institute. This morning, the examinations confirmed according to an atomic absorption test that it was indeed the hand of François de Grossouvre that had fired the fatal shot.
- François de Grossouvre had been close to François Mitterrand for more than 30 years. He had helped the Head of State in his political ascent. He returned to the Élysée in 1981. He was part of the first circle of the President's friends, in the same way as Michel Charasse, for example. In September 93, he was heard by Judge Thierry Jean-Pierre as part of his investigation into the accounts of Roger-Patrice Pelat, another close friend of François Mitterrand. Several witnesses claim to have recently seen François de Grossouvre depressed and tired.
- With François Mitterrand, he had entered the Élysée in 81. With a title: adviser to the President, like a mask on his activities which he liked, it is said, the secret. Claude Estier, "President of the Socialist Group in the Senate": "François de Grossouvre took pleasure in this role which was a bit intriguing".
- Since that day in 61 when Pierre Mendès France introduced him to François Mitterrand, he was on all the trips, in all the campaigns of the man he became a friend of, long before he entered the Élysée. Already in 1964, he took part in the founding of the convention of republican institutions, the launching pad for candidate Mitterrand for the 1965 presidential election. Always present in the political fight, but never on stage.
- This doctor by training becomes in particular from 81 the President's relay in industrial circles, only liking to serve secret diplomacy. Soon, however, his influence declined with his appointment to the presidential hunts, the end of a power he wanted to continue to serve, the estrangement of his friend Mitterrand.
- He was called "The man in the shadows", François de Grossouvre followed at the Élysee the most delicate diplomatic files, the activities of the special services. In particular, he had carried out confidential missions in the Middle East.
- At the castle, it was also called "Belphegor". Advisor to the President, very officially in charge of the secret services, François de Grossouvre can satisfy his taste for parallel diplomacy, delicate files and intelligence. Pierre Marion, "Former Director of the D.G.S.E.": "He had an operational role in certain very specific cases on issues he knew well and which interested him. And then he had a role of adviser to the President whom he saw very frequently and often for a long time, generally in the evening starting at 7 a.m. And he was actually giving her advice on a lot of issues, which weren't just Secret Service or police issues".
- Resistant like François Mitterrand, his first weapons as a master spy he made them during the war, infiltrated into the militia. And then in the 1950s, he was undoubtedly one of his honorable correspondents in the SDECE, counterintelligence. Sleeping agent of the French version of the Gladio network.
- At the Élysée, the man wants to be as discreet as he is influential. With a predilection for a few hot issues and certain sensitive areas: Middle Eastern terrorism in the aftermath of the attack on rue des Rosiers. And then above all Lebanon, which he knows perfectly well and where he uses his countless contacts to try to free the French hostages in Beirut.
- But very quickly, when other members of the cabinet took the lead, the eminence grise was dismissed in 1985. And the only management of presidential hunts that was entrusted to him then would not be enough to occupy this passionate hunter that he was also.
- Among the reactions collected after the death of François de Grossouvre, that of Martine Aubry, for example, who reminds us that suicide is a personal event and that it must remain so. "I hope there will be no political exploitation of this act as we saw with the death of Pierre Bérégovoy", said the former Minister of Labor. And then Valéry Giscard d'Estaing presented his condolences to Madame François de Grossouvre, who is currently a member of the economic and social council of Auvergne.
- The funeral of Monsieur de Grossouvre will take place on Monday [April 11] in the Allier at Moulins and Lusigny. François Mitterrand will attend his funeral.