19. Dard, Frederic “San-Antonio” (1921 – 2000)
Immensely popular French writer of comic detective novels. During his long career of over 50 years, Dard wrote 300 books with sales of 270 million, making him the best-selling French author of the second half of the 20th century. Dard moved to Switzerland with his second wife, Françoise, in 1968. Ten years later, he bought a dilapidated XVIII century farm in Bonnefontaine, FR. It was in this renovated farmhouse that “San-Antonio” wrote over 100 novels on his IBM electric typewriter—he apparently hated computers.
Dard typing in the cow pasture of his Fribourg farm “l’eau vive”
On his death, one of Dard’s admirers, French president Jacques Chirac, declared in a statement at the Élysée Palace: “Our language has lost one of its magicians, one of those who knew how to add to its colors, to its vividness, to its force.” Dard’s career has often been compared to the prolific body of work of the Belgian detective writer Georges Simenon—and in fact it was Simenon who became something of a mentor for Dard. Their detectives, however, were very different: Simenon’s ruminating “Maigret” with his bourgeois home-life contrasts sharply with Dard’s freewheeling “commissaire San-Antonio” and his assistant, the Rablaisian “inspector Berurier.”
Like the 16th century French novelist François Rabelais, Dard was a great coiner of words and expressions. He said that he started his career with a vocabulary of 300 French words and that he invented 10,000 others!
Dard was obviously at home in Fribourg even though he had another home in Geneva. He came to Switzerland because he needed privacy and tranquility in order to write. He was a discrete presence in the canton, but I often saw him quickly walking down Fribourg’s Rue de Lausanne wearing his leather topcoat. He was a close friend of the local Catholic bishop, Pierre Mamie, with whom he wrote a book about God (even though Dard did not practice Catholicism). I do not think that Dard’s move to Switzerland was about avoiding French taxes. I believe he genuinely loved the Fribourgeois lifestyle. We all commiserated with him when his 13-year-old daughter, Joséphine, was kidnapped from his Geneva home in 1983. Fortunately, she was found several days later, and the kidnapper, a cameraman who had been filming a documentary about “San-Antonio,” was captured and subsequently jailed.
Fribourg cos. : Multifiduciaire SA de contrȏle et de management, Cap 0,2.
(12.7.74, 29.10.85) Rue Faucigny 5 (Dard was on the board)
Germinal SA, Toutes opération fiduciaires, notamment la gestion de
patrimoines immobiliers ou mobiliers ainsi que la réalisation de toutes
affaires immobilières, Cap 0,3. (14.4.78, 7.4.81)
Rue Faucigny 5. Chez Multifiduciaire SA (Dard’s wife was on the board)
20. Dassault, Serge (1925- )
Son of the legendary French aviation pioneer Marcel Dassault who was born “Marcel Bloch.” During World War II, Bloch, his wife, and his youngest son, Serge, were sent to Nazi concentration camps. After the war, Bloch changed his name to “Dassault”—the name his brother had used during the French resistance—and began to develop the French fighter jets, the Mirage and the Mystère. Dassault died in 1986, and Serge ran Dassault Aviation until 2000 when he retired. Serge’s older brother Claude, a very private businessman, ran Financière et Immobilière Marcel Dassault (FIMD) which controls a vineyard (Château Dassault) and Intertechnique. After Claude’s death in 2011, Serge took over as board president of the Dassaults’ two Fribourgeois companies, Sita and Terramaris. Serge Dassault is currently ranked by Bloomberg as the 48th richest person in the world with a fortune of $17 billion (6/11/15)
Already convicted in 1998 of having bribed Belgian officials to obtain an aviation contract—using one of his family’s Swiss accounts—Dassault is again suspected of bribery via Switzerland. This time he is accused of buying votes in his election for mayor of Corbeil-Essonnes, a commune 29 Km from the center of Paris. Gérard Limat, a Swiss accountant and long-time associate of Serge Dassault, organized the secret transit of the funds (via Geneva) from accounts in Liechtenstein to Dassault’s headquarters in Paris. Limat is on the boards of Dassault’s Fribourg companies.
Fribourg cos. :Sita SA, Participer en Suisse ou à l’étranger à toutes entreprises commerciales, industrielles, mobilières ou immobilières et de se livrer à cet effet à toutes opérations d’administration de crédit mobilier ouimmobilier, Cap 2,0. (4.1.38, 31.3.94) Pl. de la Gare 8. Chez Crédit Suisse
Société Financière Terramaris SA, L’administration de participations
financières à d’autres entreprises établies hors du canton de Fribourg
dans le sens d’une compagnie holding. La société n’exercera aucune
activité dans le canton de Fribourg, sauf toutefois celle strictement
nécessaire à son administration , Cap 1,0 (17.10.56, 20.10.93)
Av. de la Gare 10, chez Crédit Suisse
“Thankfully of all my friends, dead and alive, I have the pleasure to announce that not a single one of them was Swiss. These are the people who safeguard Noriega’s money. These are the people who put Batista’s secret vault next to the one belonging to Fidel Castro. These people with clean streets and dirty hearts. They stay neutral in all wars because they don’t have a dog in anyone’s fight. They have no guts.”
–Steve Dunleavy, editorialist for Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, 5/8/97, p.5.
“On the morning of December 6, 1990, Murdoch was in Zurich, attempting
To charm and cajole officials at Credit Suisse. That afternoon he flew to
London. With him was a forty-four-year-old American, Dave DeVoe,
recently appointed as his chief financial officer, with instructions to save
The company.” –William Shawcross in Murdoch, Simon & Schuster, NY, 1993, P.14.
L: Dave DeVoe; R: Rupert Murdoch
21. DeVoe, David (1947- )
From 1990-2013, News Corp.’s chief financial officer, and Rupert Murdoch’s right-hand man. DeVoe retired in 2013, but he remains on News Corp.’s board.
Rupert Murdoch is the billionaire founder of the media empire News Corp., which is reminiscent of William Randolph Hearst’s, and includes the London Times, the New York Post, and the London tabloid Sun (the second most widely-read newspaper in Britain after the Daily Mail ). Other holdings are the hugely successful American network Fox TV, the pan-Asian satellite network Star TV, and British Sky Broadcasting. News Corp. also owns the book publisher Harper Collins which in 2014 bought Harlequin Enterprises , the Canadian romance fiction publisher. Harlequin has had a controversial Fribourg operation for years (see no. 12 above). HarperCollins’ acquisition of Harlequin means that Murdoch will again have a foothold in Fribourg (Harper & Collins BV was wound down in 2004 after 15 years in Fribourg).
News Corp.’s fiscal slights-of-hand have fascinated tax experts for years. Murdoch has been able to keep his company’s taxes low by shifting profits from one offshore tax haven to another. (See: Russ Baker: “Murdoch’s Mean Machine’ (Part 2), Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 1998)
In 2011, Britain was rocked by an enormous scandal in which it was discovered that British newspapers had been habitually « hacking » telephone conversations of celebrities in order to furnish their writers with juicy information about the celebrities’ private lives. The scandal was a huge embarrassment for Murdoch, and it forced him to split his empire in two.
Fribourg co. : Harper & Collins BV, Amsterdam, succursale de Fribourg,
Participer, financer, s’intéresser à d’autres entreprises, gérer des
entreprises et des sociétés, prélever des fonds, conclure des transactions
financières, donner des garanties, rendre tout service dans les domaines
commercial et financier, Cap 0,2. (10.7.89, 7.4.93)
Rue de Lausanne 91 (siège princ. à Amsterdam NL)
22. Diouri, Abdelmoumen (1938 – 2012)
Moroccan associate of the revolutionary Ben Barka who was imprisoned in 1963. Diouri survived extensive torture and later went into exile in France. A vocal critic of Morocco’s ruler Hassan II, Diouri was briefly expelled from France in 1991 for having written A QUI APPARTIENT LE MAROC which revealed Hassan II’s enormous Moroccan holdings. The French government did not want to offend its wealthy ally. Diouri was able to return to Morocco in 20o6. He died in 2012.
Fribourg co. : TGR Holding SA, La prise, l’administration et la gestion de participations dans toutes sociétés ou entreprises commerciales, financières, industrielles et immobilières, toutes opérations financières, commerciales, mobilières ou immobilières, Cap 0,05. (13.3.84, 9.11.92) Rte de Beaumont 20. Chez CFS Consulting Fidpar SA