House of Dior cover up? John Galliano’s British right-hand-man died from cocaine overdose

Daily Mail - 21 August 2011

The business partner of disgraced British fashion designer John Galliano died from a cocaine overdose, it has been revealed four years after his death.

A manslaughter trial was held after 38-year-old Steven Robinson’s body was found at his flat in Paris in 2007.

But those involved used France’s strict privacy laws to make sure it was never publicised.

Galliano has maintained that Mr Robinson – who worked with him at House of Dior – died of a heart attack, but it has now been revealed that he gave evidence at the trial.

Alassane Seck, a 40-year-old illegal immigrant from Senegal was convicted of Mr Robinson’s manslaughter.

Mr Robinson, from Norfolk who was himself a rising haute couture star, had up to 7gs of the white powder in his body. He had been sold the drug for about £450.

Seck was jailed for seven years in 2008 but has since been released. He had appealed the sentence in April 2010 and the term was reduced to six years.

Lawyers also revealed that Seck supplied cocaine to numerous other fashion stars and other celebrities, including François Baudot – a cultural adviser to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and friend of his wife, Carla Bruni – who committed suicide last year at the age of 60.

According to a report in the Sunday Times magazine, the revelations have provoked accusations of a cover-up aimed at protecting the reputation of the House of Dior as well as senior figures in the French establishment.

No journalists attended the court proceedings, and no official documents containing Mr Robinson’s cause of death were ever released.

‘There is a great deal to this entire case which has never been discussed publicly,’ said Seck’s French barrister, François-Henri Blistene.

Another source involved in the case said: ‘It smacks of a major cover-up.

‘In countries like Britain it would be impossible for someone to be killed by a cocaine dealer without anybody knowing about it – but that’s what happened in this case.

‘The reputation of both Galliano and Dior would have been sullied if this had been made public, as would the names of numerous important public figures who bought drugs from Seck.’

‘My client was supplying cocaine to some of the biggest names in Paris, including Mr Robinson. Many other public figures were also using his services.’

The flat where Mr Robinson was foubd was in the same district of Paris as La Perle, the bar where Galliano was arrested earlier this year for launching an anti-Jewish attack on fellow drinkers.

During his trial for anti-Semitism, Galliano said the shock of losing Mr Robinson had increased his reliance on alcohol and anti-depressants – which in turn allegedly caused his anti-social behaviour.

Galliano is expecting a verdict next month, and faces a prison sentence if found guilty.

Galliano and Robinson started working together in the late 1980s, and became central to Galliano’s success at the House of Dior.

At the time of Mr Robinson’s death they had been working there for 11 years.

He said during his own trial in June: ‘He protected me from everything, so I could just concentrate on being creative.’

Dior is owned by LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), the world’s largest luxury products conglomerate, whose turnover last year was almost £20billion.

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