Claude Chossat, a "shabby robber" to a man of confidence of Francis Mariani, godfather of the Corsican mafia


The Chossat trial is held for a fortnight – Mathilde Ceilles / 20 Minutes

  • This Monday opened before the Assize Court of Aix-en-Provence the trial of Claude Chossat, accused of the murder of Richard Casanova, leading figure of organized crime.
  • The man went back a long way on his trajectory which made him become the man of confidence of the godfather of the Corsican mafia, Francis Mariani.

We do not suspect the consequences of one or two parts of video games. "When I get to know
 Francis Mariani, I am passionate rally, recalls Claude Chossat at the helm of the court of assizes
from Aix-en-Provence, in his black suit. I have race car posters all over my cell. Seeing this, knowing that I was from Cutolli and that I had knowledge with people he knew, Francis Mariani comes more and more to my cell. We start playing the Playstation at rally games. It started like this. "

We are then in 2000, in the prison of Borgo, in Corsica. Francis Mariani is then, by the confession of Claude Chossat "the boss". He is one of the most influential bandits in the history of the island mafia, member of the very powerful gang of the Seabreaker. Claude Chossat, he is a young man described by many of his relatives as "sympathetic", " intelligent "" without history ", who," fascinated by thugs "and attracted by easy money, commits an armed robbery that drives him straight into prison. "A small shabby robber", as summarized by the president of the Bouches-du-Rhone Assize Court, Jean-Luc Tournier, who manages, thanks to a common passion for cars, to win the favor of " Godfather ".

"He fascinated me"

Francis Mariani initially offered him his protection. Quickly, in exchange, Claude Chossat serves this figurehead of Corsican banditry. In 2001, Francis Mariani managed to escape from Borgo prison with a simple fax. When he was arrested and again incarcerated, he quickly got in touch with Claude Chossat, still in the same cell, lined with posters of race cars. "He comes to me because he needs a phone immediately," says Claude Chossat. He had a lot of authority, a lot of charisma within the establishment. I had emotional ties to him. I can not explain it, it fascinated me. "

"Claude Chossat was immature when he met Francis Mariani, says a psychologist expert at the bar of the court. Francis Mariani has become a father figure, a reference. Like any son in difficulty, Claude Chossat, riddled with debt after a painful experience as a business leader when he left prison, naturally turned to Francis Mariani. The "boss" agrees, without flinching according to him, to lend him overnight the tidy sum of 50,000 euros.

"I could not say no"

Shortly after, according to Claude Chossat, Francis Mariani asks to see him and invites him to Ajaccio for a dinner. "He said to me," Something bad happened to me, I was victim of an assassination attempt at the wheel of my Porsche, I'm going to need a driver to transport me. I know the roads well, then there are few people around me who know you, and you are without activity. " " His answer ? "I could not say no," he says. I could not say no. "

Little by little, Claude Chossat renders service to the godfather of the Corsican Mafia, and finds himself in the middle of scenes worthy of the movies. Like this time when he drives his "boss" to a rendezvous point with another man, to learn afterwards, by radio, that the man was killed. Or the other time when, at the request of Jacques Mariani, he helps him escape the Assize Court of Aix-en-Provence, to go to Switzerland.

"I can be next"

On the death of Richard Casanova, of which he is the main defendant, Claude Chossat, until now driver of the "boss" changes status and takes the lead. "At that moment I am in a certain confidence," he recalls. I am put in some meetings while I have nothing to do there. And services to the "boss" and his crimes continue.

Until the day when Claude Chossat decides to move away from the middle, for his family, but also for fear for himself. "I leave Corsica in December 2008, he says at the helm. I turn my back on Francis Mariani because I know he has, at this period completely fooled. And I know that at that moment, I can be next. He then decided to collaborate with the courts, proclaiming himself "repentant" in the beginning, according to him, of the outcome of several investigations.

However, Claude Chossat denies en bloc being the murderer of Richard Casanova, and accuses including Francis Mariani. A version of the facts that the principal concerned can not confirm, since he died in January 2009. "Yes, I helped Francis Mariani during his run, gets carried away Claude Chossat at the bar. I drove armored vehicles, I made a weapons deal for him. For the rest, I have no reason to tell stories. The Sea Breeze has thirty years of activity. And Francis Mariani and his friends never needed Claude Chossat to kill anyone! "An affirmation that should not fail to contradict the civil parties on Tuesday, allowed to question Claude Chossat on his remarks.

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