Fleeing NY Cocaine Charge, French Diplomat Serman Resurfaces in
San Francisco as
Sarkozy Consul : Press Questions
Russell Lee, Exclusive
April 10 -- When French diplomat Romain Serman was arrested
in Manhattan in 2006 for “attempting to purchase cocaine” and
resisting arrest, he never faced trial or punishment.
the New York
Police Department arrest document Inner City Press has
here, Serman immediately -- or after resisting
arrest -- insisted to police that he was a diplomat with the French
Mission to the United Nations.
fleeing the US to escape this charge in 2006, Serman has re-appeared
in the US representing France as its general consul in San Francisco.
Several sources interviewed by Inner City Press say this is legally
problematic, and may reflect a failure to disclose by France,
negligence by the United States -- or both.
the arrest document, he added “Dip. Fr” after his name. And,
sure enough, under then French
Permanent Representative to the UN
Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, Serman left the United States before any
trial on the charge of purchasing cocaine.
Serman was not punished, but rather continued to work for President
Nicolas Sarkozy, on Africa and other issues.
Serman was sent back to the United States, to become France's General
Consul in San Francisco.
Serman gives French award to WWII veteran in Sacramento
Serman hosted Sarkozy minister
Frederic Mitterrand during a visit
to San Francisco where he met,
among others, executive of Google, Amazon and Apple, and linked his
visit to what he called the Facebook revolution in Egypt.
for Serman's statements on his Twitter account, here for a video of
Serman speaking in
Salt Lake City about the education of children.
hours after Inner City
Serman's arrest document as part of an investigative
story on France's policy and actions regarding its now war torn
former colony the Ivory Coast / Cote d'Ivoire, Inner City Press was
admonished that the publication, particularly of the arrest record,
diplomatic sources, including in the US Mission to the UN, whom Inner
City Press interviewed prior to publication said that Serman to
re-appear in the United States as a French diplomat after he fled the
country to escape charges of purchasing cocaine and resisting arrest
is illegal, one
diplomat said, citing a provision of 8 U.S. Code Section 1101
regarding “a failure to appear before a court pursuant to a court
order to answer to or dispose of a charge.”
this case, the
well placed source said, while Serman may have tacitly been allowed
to flee the United States as a diplomat, he was “not supposed to
come back in, as a diplomat.”
that when he has been sent to other countries, it has always been
vetted by the country to which he was sent, seeking “agreement,”
a French diplomatic word meaning consent.
He noted that
this comes at a time when the US is
using visa law to block diplomatic status for some at the UN in New York.
wondered whether this is a case in which France falsely did not
disclose the previous charge against Serman when he was sent to San
Francisco last year, or whether US authorities were “negligent”
-- or both.
made. Watch this site.
* * *
Show Cote d'Ivoire Strategy at UN of France on Liberia, Mali
& Even San Francisco
8, updated -- With Cote d'Ivoire's defiant Laurent Gbagbo
surrounded after French and UN military action in Abidjan's Cocody
neighborhood, internal French government documents obtained by Inner
City Press and published exclusively today paint a picture of
France's communications with the UN Mission UNOCI, its analysis of
the politics of Guillaume Soro, Liberia and the Malian press, even
its recycling of a French diplomat arrested in New York as France's
new general consul in San Francisco.
document, France's Force Licorne (Unicorn) wrote to the Special
Representative of the Secretary General about Gbagbo's import of
heavy weapons. Click here to view. More recently, France is accused
of violating the arms embargo by providing and facilitating weapons
to the forces of Alassane Ouattara.
an internal French cable detailing the Financial
Organization of the Rebellion, down to a “racket” of shaking down
money for taxi licenses.
document, France bemoans the failure of a visit of three African
heads of state to Cote d'Ivoire, including Nigeria's Obasanjo and
South Africa's Thabo Mbeki now active in Sudan, complaining that this
situation can be prolonged until the international community decided
to “impose a solution.”
document, France analyzed and critiques South African policy toward
Cote d'Ivoire and Gbagbo.
document, France analyzes Liberia's foreign policy as pro-American.
More recently, a purported interview of a Ouattara commander
describing coordinating with a French citizen working with the UN
Mission in Liberia has surfaced.
document, France analyzes the “discrete attitude” of the Malian
the largest set
of documents published today -- there are more -- France details its
work in the UN Security Council on resolutions concerning the UN
of the French
diplomats involved was Romain Serman, who was later arrested by the
New York Police Department. See arrest sheet and
here. Then French Ambassador de la Sabliere, to “avoid a scandal,”
sent Serman back to Paris.
in 2010 he was
re-assigned to the US, as general consul in San Francisco. And so it
Update at 1pm, April
8: at the UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky to describe how UNOCI has
allowed Licorne to lobby it and attend its meetings, and if other
countries have been allowed.
he would not comment on leaked documents, and also directed Inner City
Press to ask the (French) chief of the UN Department of Peacekeeping
Operations, Alain Le Roy. Watch this site.