The Vasarely Affair – Charles Debbash, Scientific Fraudster

IWhen Charles Debbash became the head of the foundation of the same name, there was no “Vasarely case” yet. No trial yet, dirty tricks, brothers Andre and Jean-Pierre, a doctor and an artist, and several fights between the two sons of Victor and Claire Vasarely. Nothing unusual.

We are in 1981. We are tired of steering the boat of his huge enterprise (the foundation, in two places, the Gordes museum and the Aix architecture center) alone for ten years, of his artistic production, of participating in the decline of his river. his wife and best ally, Victor Vasarely, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, tries to pass the torch.

Tempted for a time by the offer of Japanese investors – a common thing in the 1980s – the patriarch finally turned to a more reliable and above all local solution: the University of Aix-en-Provence. Dean, Charles Debbasch, is a measure that is unanimously accepted. “Talented lawyer, jurist, mandarin of administrative law and founder of the University of Aix-Marseille 3”, Laetitia Sariroglou, who signed the Bible of the case, tells us: Robbery (Phage).

Find our series The Vasarely Case: A Cursed Legacy
The Utopian Artist and His Descendants
Charles Debbasch, learned con man
Yann Streiff, brown lawyer
Sulfur bride

Fanfare Arrival

Victor, who just celebrated his 75th birthday, is probably a little young at 35. But the oratory is no less than the qualities of Charles Debbash, who convinced the artist and entered the top with a foundation. Starting with a big spring cleaning, the architect and director of the architecture center Victor’s friend was fired.

Charles is a dog person; The Yorkshire terrier he’s clutching tightly in all the photos attests to that, but he’s also a cat person, judging by the number of lives he’s had. “Close to Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who joined his close circle of advisors during his presidency; Vice President of France 3; Director General of the Supervisory Board The Dauphine was released ; at the origin of the creation of half a dozen private radio stations…”, it can be read Robbery.


Brilliant, undoubtedly prolific on all fronts, tells of Pierre Vasarely, the grandson of modest Pieds-noirs born in Tunisia in 1935, married, who first plundered his grandfather’s foundation “at the same time as Catholicism”. Aixoise of good family,” Odil.

It’s crazy love with Odile. They start a family, invest in real estate together under the banner of their combined names: SCI Charlodile. Odil becomes the administrator of the Vasarely Foundation. Odile has even been immortalized with the “Odil Debbasch” hall at Sciences Po Aix. Curious? Absolutely not. Odil is a Doctor of Law, with a dissertation defended in 1960. Military occupation – contribution to the study of powers recognized by the armed forces outside their national territory ». But above all, six years later, she signs a text, knowing the rest, there can be no doubt that she influenced her husband., The emergence of United African parties, into A look at the Muslim worlds and the Mediterranean.

If Odile certainly seems like a shadow influencer, it’s Charles (additionally the author twenty books) who is responsible of the foundation Between 1981 and its spectacular fall in 1993.

Dear cheater

“We’ll know when Claire dies Debbasch had multiplied the caps. He will be both president of the Vasarely Foundation and president of the foundation The Dauphine was released, taking care of art galleries, becoming an art dealer in Switzerland. Paintings signed by different artists, including Vasarely, “says the heir’s grandson. According to Pierre Vasarely, a faculty dean who will be president, Tutor of the son of Norodom Sihanouk, who alternately became the king of Cambodia and “head of state for life” in 1941-1993.

Debbasch was also an adviser to the king of Morocco in the 1980s and even a “tutor” for his son. The dean is indeed there, a member of the jury for the doctoral thesis defense of the eldest son of Hassan II in Nice in 1993 (as well as Eyadema, the great president of Togo!) the name Mohammed VI. His thesis entitled “Cooperation between the European Economic Union and the Arab Maghreb Union” was awarded the title “very honorable” with the congratulations of the jury. Let it go In 2006.

In the Vasarely family, at the same time, nothing is going well. Since 1990, with the death of Claire in November and the opening of the succession, an open conflict began between her sons Andre and Jean-Pierre. Behind the facade of impartiality, Debbasch relies on his status as an “outside” element to claim to appease the family, while also arousing hatred because he is the one who offered Andre a lawyer against Jean-Stone in the first place. .

READ ALSOAix-en-Provence: the new life of the Vasarely FoundationAfter two years of conflict between the brothers and their wives, Henriette and Michel, calm has returned. Or more precisely, a reversal of polarity. Thanks to the restructuring between the brothers, we discover that Charles Debbash, whom Pierre Vasarely called a “white-collar swindler”, a “culture tapestry”, is happily dipping into the fund’s coffers, as well as his. Frees Dauphineé and the University of Aix, “to finance his lifestyle”.

Dismissed from Aix faculty, sent to Baumettes

Since 1992, Charles Debbasch has been accused by the family he intended to protect. In November 1994, Dean was called by a judge for a motion letter. Declaring his innocence, Charles defies justice and refuses to go there. On Friday, the 25th, the judge personally goes to the faculty, accompanied by the prosecutor and gendarmes. MilitaryWho do you think they are trying to get academics from outside? The worldbefore retreating to the university territory, he would have resisted, he gave support students I am shocked that we are going after such a respected teacher more than appreciated. The doors of the university are closed in the face of the gendarmes and in the face of the dean. Debbasch locks himself in his office. The next day it is still there. Finally whenthe doors of the university are open Dean agrees to surrender to law enforcement. Enters Monday, November 28 Baumettes Prison, Marseille Penitentiary Center, to carry out several months of imprisonmentn temporary.

On the family side, on this date two brothers, André and Jean-Pierre, will begin the second part of this long period. soap A trial known as the Vasarely case. A complete plundering of the foundation organized by the nebulous arbitrage of inheritance, through advice of a family lawyer, Yann Streiff, on the grounds that excessive donations from parents would disinherit children.

Ldean who is a “white magician”.

Charles Debbash’s life takes a bitter taste at the start of the new millennium. He is I heard in 2001 issued a verdict on the basis of an appeal 2002 together One year in prison, including one year for the embezzlement of more than 400,000 euros and “systematic looting of the work” of Victor Vasarely, who died in 1997.

In the year 2003 and 2004ping pong game for breach of trust causes Among the courts of Aix and from Paris. Debbasch doesn’t immediately dive for Vasarely’s work, however he is also placed An investigation is underway to open a bank account in Luxembourg with a tidy sum of 1.2 million euros, including a suspicious transfer. After the conviction against the Vasarelians. Charles Debbasch shouts new his innocence. This money would come from Africa…

LSuffering from French supporters, the academician gradually left France for new horizons. He finds shelter in Togo, but also a comfortable situation. This is where it begins his enth life

READ ALSOThe Work of Vasarely: The Utopian Artist and His DescendantsTo whom Lome, capital of Togo, lawyer is invited more and more often for was fulfilledr “discretionary increase in the number of missions […], at the request of the head of state,” he writes in his autobiography. The “trust and friendship” relationships he built with the president general Eyedema make him a real “white wizard” rather than a gray reputation. becausehe admires the leader-dictators of the new Françafriqueetc especially lawyers this makes the laws of “democracy” so flexible. Debbasch, a fine knife in the matter, will arrive for constitutional amendment for Let Eyadema stay in power, and movement son Faure Gnassingbe the chairvse. From 2005 until his death Debbasch He was the mastermind behind changing electoral laws in West Africa.” Pierre Vasarely continues, rousing one that will be in turn Adviser to politicians in Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire and Congo in Brazzaville.

Two men for one plane

2005 is a base year. Debbasch, 67 years old, has been working for ten years as legal counsel for Eyedema. A mfunction ercedes, a Villa luxuriousnew yorkshire, one soon new wife (In 2011) and again children. But the president eye edema, feeling that the end is near, must ensure that his son can succeed him. Gold the VSconstitution Togolese in this case, it implies the arrival of a temporary employee before the organization of a new election presidential elections within six months. Eyedema please call after save the wizard, change this failed protocol legislation with a deft and discreet wave of the magic wand.

Debbasch, horse paris, to throw taxi, direction Charles de Gaulle. Mais, the height of irony, flight who wins For Lome who also carries the person dshould act as a temporary presidency : Chairman of the Milli Majlis From Togo, Fambare Natchaba. the flight Air France is approachingLome-Tokoin Airport (to be renamed Gnassingbé-Eyadema in 2016) when pronounced deadthe president. The army supporting his son, Faure Gnassingbe, decides to close the borders. The flight is diverted to Cotonou, the capital Good. Next day, on the ground repatriation request Charles Debbasch for the capital of Togo approved by the authorities. But no that exercised the powers of the president Nachaba…

A short progress Time to maneuver Charles. In record time, he goes of Amendments to the Constitution and the Election Code can provide power immediately Gnassingbe. all does presented and received in the evening byTHERE IStogethereh national, in the absence of a president, Naughty, always Stuck in Cotonou.

He died on January 8, 2022

A race against time that allows you to debbasch two birds with one stone: voh again adviser to the new president. New life. What will not impress Jacques Chirac, is persistent request of Gnassingbe In 2006 grant amnesty constitutionalist honcho and is the mainstay of the regime.

Charles Debbasch lived happily adviser-minister, and had many children (four in Togo, five in France from two unions), but remained in Lomé. In 2019, he donated his personal library, returned to France before his death, On January 8, 2022 at the age of 84. House after his death was announced in Lome it was immediately sealed and the computer equipment confiscated. They buried the “Doyen” as they are called in Togo from his first life, At Aix, without the faculty he created he gets angry.

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