Police investigate suspicious death of French academic

WASHINGTON Tue Apr 3, 2012 7:36pm EDT

Richard Descoings, the head of the Paris Institute for Political Studies (IEP), is seen after a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris in this June 2, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Files

Richard Descoings, the head of the Paris Institute for Political Studies (IEP), is seen after a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris in this June 2, 2009 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer/Files

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A prominent French academic, Richard Descoings, was found dead naked in a New York hotel room on Tuesday afternoon. New York police have opened an investigation because they believe the circumstances of his death are suspicious.

A law enforcement source said that the body of Descoings, director of the prestigious Institute of Political Studies in Paris and a member of France's Council of State, a government advisory body, was found on Tuesday afternoon in his room at a hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

Descoings was in New York to attend a conference at Columbia University but did not show up on Tuesday morning when the conference was due to begin, the source said.

Colleagues subsequently phoned the hotel. When staff members first went to his room, they believed they heard snoring and let the matter drop.

When Descoings still did not appear at the conference, hotel staff again visited his room and this time opened the door. Inside, they found Descoings' nude body and the room in disarray.

The law enforcement source said that police were treating the circumstances of Descoings' death as suspicious. While there was no indication of forced entry into his room, there were indications that alcohol had been consumed, and also indications that more than one person may have been in the room with Descoings.

The institute which Descoings led, known in French as the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (or colloquially as "Sciences Po") is one of France's most distinguished academic institutions and widely regarded as an elite school for future high-ranking officials and politicians.

The investigation into the death of Descoings will be the second major investigation in a year to be launched by New York police involving a major French personality.

Last year, New York police arrested the head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, after a chambermaid at a Times Square area hotel accused him of sexual assault. The charges against Strauss-Kahn were later dropped.

Strauss-Kahn, who once was a potential candidate for the French presidency, is now under investigation by French authorities for his alleged involvement with a prostitution ring in the northern French city of Lille.

Strauss-Kahn was once a professor at the "Sciences Po" institute which Descoings headed.

(Editing By Warren Strobel and Sandra Maler)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
Lilzeon wrote:
and can you tell us what’s the link btw Richard Descoings and DSK, except they’re French? Are you really journalists?

Apr 04, 2012 9:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
kazo wrote:
link btw Richard Descoings and DSK ?
1. Both have studied at Sciences Po.
2. DSK taught at Sciences Po Descoing being director.
3. DSK is a french socialist party head ; Descoing was knewn as left wing.

Amazing omerta about this case.
No more news in French media just a couple of days after this suspicious death.
French media try to minimize the dark side of this case. They don’t notice the two men nore the fact Descoing’s widow confessed she knew her husband was gay, nore the fact cops have found gay website data in Descoing’s laptop.

At last, very odd five days after the death, medical explanation not yet provided. If the victim is supposed to have taken a mix of drug and alcohol, it should be very easy to determine it. Why this strange duration of two weeks announced by police to provide toxicologic data?

It seems all is managed for the French Prez election to be not disturbed by a possible durty case.

Americans have to know Descoing as a “conseiller d’Etat”, was belonging to the highest circle of civil servants.

More than an advisory body, le Conseil d’Etat is the supreme court for public law, since in France, Justice is divided between public courts and civil & criminal courts.

Apr 07, 2012 8:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.