Between Olivier Metzner and Alexandre Despallières, can we speak of a love story? 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. Because it’s 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-sharpened spade. His freedom of tone flirts with contempt and insult. After the Kerviel trial, Éric Dupond-Moretti refuses to greet him.
Olivier Metzner superbly ignores this detestation of which it is the subject. He almost enjoys it, shuffling through the courts, hidden behind his little half-moon glasses and the smoke from his big 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’m 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“, will tell Alexandre to the investigators, without any regard for the one he nicknamed “Patapouf”.
For nearly 20 years, they will be lovers, from time to time. Olivier Metzner has become one of the most expensive lawyers in Paris. He had himself driven to court in a Jaguar, owned a manor house in Rambouillet, and supported this young man who captivated him. This one, and a few others, just as greedy and tyrannical. When Despallières goes to seek his fortune elsewhere, in California, in Australia, he continues to send him Western Union money orders. When Peter Ikin dies, he lodges him. But control has its limits.
Everything changes as he prepares to plead in the Bettencourt trial: the police know his links with Despallières, they want to hear about the disappearance of the former boss of Warner. He then discovers that the course of his protege is strewn with suspicious deaths, he glimpses 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 to go to sea…
A dizzying moment… He leaves a final message: “I am withdrawing from your case. Find yourself 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 to write a false will. He tries to drag her down. For a man as secret as Olivier Metzner, the blow is hard. His private life, so carefully hidden until then, is displayed in the public square, his reputation tarnished… He can no longer ignore that he is alone, that he has always been. More than ever, he isolates himself. Rambouillet is not far enough: he buys the island of Boëdic in Morbihan. A madness at 2.5 million euros, which he sold four times as much two years later to buy a boat, the Teorem.
While discussing a cruise project in the Cyclades, Olivier Metzner was found drowned near his island in March 2013. “He did not know how to defend himself”, said one of his associates. He left a letter, the autopsy concludes with a suicide. A solitary death, drowned in this ocean that has fascinated him since adolescence.
He sailed with Tabarly, he often talks about it. It’s one of his best memories, and perhaps a bigger regret than you might imagine. Evidenced by this interview given in 1997 to the journalist Denis Robert. At the bend of a question, the tears rise. The lawyer asks to cut the camera, he bursts into tears and makes this confession: “I missed my life. My real happiness would have been to be a sailor and to go to sea…”
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