Claude Guéant sentenced to six months in prison for fraud

BERTRAND GUAY / AFP Claude Guéant, here at the Nanterre courthouse on October 11, was tried for fraud concerning the costs of his 2012 legislative campaign.

BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

Claude Guéant, here at the Nanterre courthouse on October 11, was tried for fraud concerning the costs of his 2012 legislative campaign.

JUSTICE – Former minister Claude Guéant, tried for fraud concerning the costs of his 2012 legislative campaign, was sentenced on Tuesday 22 November to eighteen months’ imprisonment, twelve of which were accompanied by a suspended probation by the court of Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine).

For the firm part of his six-month prison sentence, the court ordered a sentence adjustment, requesting house arrest under electronic surveillance. Claude Guéant, who was absent during the deliberation, was also sentenced to a fine of 30,000 euros. His lawyer, Me Philippe Bouchez El Ghozi, has announced that he is appealing.

During the trial in October, the prosecutor’s office had requested three years’ imprisonment with suspended probation, a fine of 50,000 euros, the deprivation of his civic rights as well as a ban on exercising in the public service and being a corporate officer. for five years. “The probity of future elected officials begins with the probity of the candidates seeking the votes”, had castigated the prosecutor. For his probationary suspension of three years, the prosecution had requested that Claude Guéant justify his activities, that he compensate the civil party (the judicial agent of the State) and settle his debts to the Public Treasury.

A letter at the heart of the matter

The essential man of the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, now 77 years old, was in 2012 candidate for deputy in Hauts-de-Seine. The prosecution accused him of having knowingly reduced his campaign accounts and thus obtained a reimbursement of more than 30,000 euros.

A four-page letter is at the heart of this case. In this letter of January 3, 2012, Pierre-Christophe Baguet, UMP mayor (now LR) of Boulogne-Billancourt and outgoing deputy of Hauts-de-Seine, announced that he would support Claude Guéant to succeed him in the National Assembly. He had attached the declaration of candidacy of the latter.

The prosecutor accuses Pierre-Christophe Baguet and Claude Guéant of having sought to finance “this propaganda document” by the city of Boulogne-Billancourt. The two defendants contest. The prosecution had requested the maximum penalty for illicit campaign financing against Baguet, i.e. one year’s suspended prison sentence and a fine of 3,750 euros. He had also asked for suspended prison sentences or fines against two former employees of the town hall and the manager of a printing press, who pleaded for release.

Claude Guéant must be retried in another case

During his trial, Claude Guéant said he had “the feeling of very great injustices” facing criminal proceedings “repeated”. He is the first tenant of Place Beauvau to have been imprisoned, from December 13, 2021 to February 9, 2022. The justice had estimated that he did not pay the fine and the damages that he had been ordered to pay in the case of cash bonuses from the Ministry of the Interior.

The ex-minister must also be retried in the Elysée polls file, after appealing his sentence to one year in prison, including eight months, for favoritism. He is also indicted in the case of suspected Libyan financing of the victorious presidential campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007.

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