TF1’s Binet probed over death

Investigation underway into death of aide

Patrick Binet, head of TF1 Intl., was placed under formal investigation Saturday following the death of a senior political aide at Binet’s apartment Wednesday evening, according to French media.

The aide, Fabrice Lesueur, 40, was chief of staff to Minister of Culture Christine Albanel.

Binet was released from police custody Saturday pending further investigation.

French daily Le Monde suggested preliminary toxicology reports indicate Lesueur could have suffered cardiac arrest, possibly as a result of a mixture of alcohol and the synthetic narcotic GHB — often called “liquid Ecstasy” — during a party.

A respected film sales vet, Binet, 56, was placed under formal investigation Saturday morning facing possible charges involving involuntary homicide and possession of controlled substances, French papers said. A third, unidentified, man who had been arrested along with Binet was released without charges.

Under French law, being placed under such formal scrutiny is a standard prerequisite if felony charges are to be brought by a magistrate.

A TF1 spokesman confirmed Friday that Binet was then in police custody but refused any further comment.

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