Press review
17 May 2024

Press review – Week of 13 May 2024

This week, the press review covers the death of Renaud Van Ruymbeke, the conviction of former Mayor of Toulon for misappropriation of public funds, the dawn raids targeting the American company Goodyear in France, Belgium and Luxembourg, the preliminary investigation for misappropriation of public funds opened by the Nice prosecutor's office targeting the president of the party Les Républicains, Eric Ciotti and the trials of former Marseille police prefect and of high executives at Bourbon for corruption.

 

#White collar crime:

Renaud Van Ruymbeke, French former anti-corruption judge, is dead

Former investigating judge, Renaud Van Ruymbeke, died aged 71 on Friday 10 May 2024. An emblematic figure in the fight against corruption in France, he investigated major politico-financial cases such as Urba, Jérôme Cahuzac, the Balkany couple, Clearstream and Jérôme Kerviel. Éric Dupond-Moretti paid tribute to him by stating that “France has lost a great judge and the justice system an immense servant”. > Read article

Goodyear tire affair: large-scale searches in France, Belgium and Luxembourg

Dawn raids were carried out on Tuesday May 14 on the sites of the American company Goodyear in France, Belgium and Luxembourg as part of an investigation into involuntary homicide, launched after the burst of many truck tires causing fatal accidents. European magistrates joined this investigation, led by French justice, in response to the request for international criminal assistance issued by the Besançon investigating judge. The interest of these raids is to be able to determine if Goodyear was aware of the dangerousness of the tires which led to these fatal accidents. > Read article

Hubert Falco, former mayor of Toulon, convicted to five years of ineligibility

Former mayor of Toulon, Hubert Falco, who had to resign from office following his first conviction last year, was convicted by the court of appeal of Aix-en-Provence to an 18-months suspended imprisonment, a 30.000 euros fine and 5 years of ineligibility for misappropriation of public funds. The latter was accused of continuously having lunches at the Var department council’s cafeteria and of having benefited from meals served at his home and from dry-cleaning services all paid by the collectivity, even though he had no longer been president of the council since 2002. Amounts are estimated to 60.000 euros between 2015 and 2018 only. Hubert Falco announced that he will appeal the decision before the French Supreme Court, the Cour de cassation. > Read article

Dual Mandate : Investigation opened in Nice on Eric Ciotti’s entourage

A preliminary investigation for misappropriation of public funds has been opened by the Nice prosecutor’s office against Eric Ciotti, president of the French party Les Républicains, former Alpes-Maritimes deputy and former President of the Alpes-Maritimes departmental council, concerning suspicions of dual mandate at the Alpes-Maritimes departmental council. Last December, the regional chamber of accounts (chambre regional des comptes – CRC) published a report noting that four members of the latter’s cabinet and two community agents were simultaneously working within the cabinet and at the National Assembly as parliamentary assistants. The National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), alerted by the anti-corruption association “AC!!”, relinquished jurisdiction in favor of the Nice prosecutor’s office, which is now conducting the investigation. > Read article

 

#Anti-Bribery and Corruption:

Small gifts, “services rendered”… Former police officer and prefect Alain Gardère, suspected of corruption, in court

Suspected of having solicited advantages by availing himself of his functions,  Alain Gardère, former Prefect of Police in Marseille, who was formerly in charge of security at Le Bourget and Roissy airports and Director of the Conseil national des activités privées de sécurité (CNAPS), is on trial starting Monday May 13 at the Paris criminal court for several offences, including active and passive corruption, abuse of authority, illegal taking of interest, misuse of corporate assets and concealment of misuse of corporate assets. He is suspected, for example, of having helped the grant of weapon permits when he was assuming the role of Director of the CNAPS and of having rendered services to Freemasons in return of cases of wine, tickets to haute couture shows and advantageous prices for building work. > Read article

Marseille: eight leaders of the Bourbon group tried for corruption in Africa

Eight executives of the Bourbon company will appear before the Marseille criminal court for a case of corruption of foreign public officials which will be examined until May 31. Thousands of euros were allegedly paid by the Bourbon company to public officials in Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon in order to reduce the amount of tax adjustment encountered by the company and in order to make a tax debt worth several million euros disappear. > Read article

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