Galliano Pal's Death Caused Paris Elite's Cocaine Cover-Up

By Will Godfrey 08/21/11

The cocaine-related death of Galliano's right-hand man at Dior was hidden to protect dealer's famous clients, say lawyers.

Galliano: Complicit in the cover-up. Photo via

The close sidekick of fashion designer and suspected anti-semite John Galliano had seven grams of cocaine in his system when he died in Paris four years ago—but a high-reaching cover-up labeled it a simple heart attack, reported yesterday's Sunday Times. Since 2007 it's been publicly maintained that Steven Robinson—Galliano's right-hand man at Dior for 11 years—died at 38 with no outside involvement. In fact, he had paid almost $750 for cocaine to a Senegalese dealer named Alassane Seck, who was subsequently sentenced to six years in jail for Robinson's manslaughter. Stringent French privacy laws ensured no journalists attended the trial—at which Galliano gave evidence—and no court documents were released. Now the lawyers who represented Seck claim this was done to protect some powerful establishment figures: "My client was supplying cocaine to some of the biggest names in Paris," said Francois-Henri Blistene. Another legal source added, "It smacks of a major cover-up. 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." Most of Seck's alleged clients remain hidden, but Blistene mentioned one with startling connections: Francois Baudot was cultural adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy, and friendly enough with French First Lady Carla Bruni to be godfather to her son. Baudot killed himself last year. Galliano, 50, whose reputation is now thoroughly sullied anyway, told his antisemitism trial in June how Robinson's death increased his reliance on anti-depressants and alcohol, which eventually led to his offensive drunken remarks in two bars and his dismissal from Dior in March. He is thought to have attended Arizona rehab The Meadows. The verdict on his case is due next month—with a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

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Will Godfrey is the former editor-in-chief of TheFix. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of, and previously co-founded a magazine for prisoners in London. His work has appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, AlterNet and The Nation among others. He is currently the Executive Director at FILTER. You can find Will on Linkedin and Twitter.