Both the photographer and publisher of the topless photographs of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, are under criminal investigation for breaking strict privacy laws with respect to the scandal.
Last fall, Valerie Suau took photographs of the duchess as she was sun bathing in a private chateau in France. She then sold those photographs to Ernesto Mauri, the editor of the French tabloid magazine “The Closer”.
Now, authorities believe the two committed a crime and are conducting an investigation for invasion of privacy. Details of the ongoing investigation are sketchy, but rumor has it that Suau was already arrested earlier in the month as a result of the investigation. When the pictures emerged, the royal couple immediately took action against the publication of the photographs calling them a “grotesque breach of privacy”.
Aurelien Hamelle, the attorney for the royal couple, has been pushing for the original images to be surrendered or have the tabloid’s publisher pay a daily fine of £8,000.
The royal couple is looking to make “The Closer” an example for anyone wanting to intrude on their privacy. One factor aiding their quest for justice is that the incident took place in France where privacy laws are easier to enforce.
According to reports, Ernesto Mauri, the chief executive of the Mondadori Group, which publishes Closer magazine, has been placed under formal investigation for “breach of privacy.” La Provence newspaper’s general director Marc Auburtin is also under investigation.
La Provence, a regional daily paper, said that is being unfairly lumped in with Closer Magazine. The paper said in a statement today that it did not publish topless photos of Kate Middleton. The magazine did admit, however, to taking pictures of the Duchess in her bikini.
The paper said: “La Provence maintains that the photos it published (by Valerie Suau) … show Kate Middleton and her husband in bathing suits and are not topless on the terrace of the Château d’Autet … These photos are not indecent at all and do not invade the privacy of the prince and his wife.”
An investigation does not necessarily lead to formal charges.
Last year, the Royal family sued the magazine. The Duchess won the case and Closer was ordered to turn over all of the topless Kate Middleton photos to the royal family.
The judge wrote: “These snapshots which showed the intimacy of a couple, partially naked on the terrace of a private home, surrounded by a park several hundred meters from a public road, and being able to legitimately assume that they are protected from passers-by, are by nature particularly intrusive. (They) were thus subjected to this brutal display the moment the cover appeared.”
Neither the Duchess of Cambridge or Prince William could be reached for any comment on the matter.
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