Skip to main content

Former justice minister files paternity suit

By Dheepthi Namasivayam, CNN
updated 1:29 PM EST, Tue November 6, 2012
Former French justice minister Rachida Dati is launching a paternity suit Tuesday against a French businessman.
Former French justice minister Rachida Dati is launching a paternity suit Tuesday against a French businessman.
  • Dati says Desseigne is the father of her daughter, who was born in 2009
  • Desseigne says he wasn't Dati's only lover at that time
  • The president of the Lucien Barriere casino group refuses to take a DNA test
  • Dati now serves as a European Parliament deputy and mayor of a Paris district

Paris (CNN) -- Former French justice minister Rachida Dati is launching a paternity suit Tuesday against a French businessman she claims is the father of her daughter, an attorney for the businessman confirmed.

In the case filed at a Versailles court, Dati formally identifies Dominique Desseigne as the biological father of Zohra, who was born in 2009. But the 68-year-old president of the Lucien Barrière casino group, which owns the luxurious Le Fouquet's hotel, refuses to take a paternity test to confirm or exclude him as the father, and alleges that he was not Dati's only lover in the year her daughter was conceived.

Dati, 46, served as justice minister in former President Nicolas Sarkozy's government from 2007-2009. She is now a deputy of the European Parliament and mayor of Paris' posh 7th arrondissement.

In a weekend interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, Desseigne's lawyer, Michèle Cahen, alleges that Dati had up to eight lovers in the year Zohra was conceived. Cahen confirmed his comments to CNN Monday. The list allegedly includes Sarkozy's brother, a Qatari attorney-general, a television broadcaster and a former Spanish prime minister.

"I will not give in to this because I behaved correctly and I have nothing to be reproached for," the newspaper quoted Desseigne as telling friends, referring to his right to refuse a paternity test.

Dati's attorneys did not immediately return calls for comment from CNN.

Her pregnancy in 2008 was shrouded in deep mystery after she refused to reveal the father's identity, with whom she did not pursue a relationship. Last month, a French newspaper revealed that Dati would file a paternity case against Desseigne.

In Le Monde's article, a friend of Desseigne explained that the businessman did not want a child with Dati and broke off the relationship in 2008, after which Dati allegedly sent him threatening letters and demanded money from him.

Cahen told CNN that the Versailles court is expected to deliver its verdict in the next month on whether Desseigne will be legally obliged to take a DNA test.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.