Never has a former senior official of his rank known such a judicial destiny. Former prefect, secretary general of the Elysee, Minister of the Interior unsuccessfully converted into the private sector, Claude Guéant, soon 77 years old, was to spend his first night in prison, Monday, December 13, at the “Vulnerable persons district” of the prison of Health, in Paris. He could stay there for nine months. “His state of health is worrying and I will do everything to get him out as quickly as possible so that he serves his sentence at home”, estimates his lawyer, Philippe Bouchez El Ghozi, who is preparing to seize the judge of application of sentences.
The “cardinal” – as he was once nicknamed for his austerity, ability to work and influence – is surrounded by business and caught up in the cabinet “premiums” that earned him a 2017 conviction. two years in prison, including one suspended sentence, and a fine of 75,000 euros for embezzlement of public funds. He had been paid 5,000 euros a month in premiums, in addition to a salary of 8,000 euros and compensation of 2,200 euros. It is thanks to these funds, taken from the costs of investigations, that he allegedly gave, for example, between 2008 and 2013, more than 110,000 euros in large denominations to members of his family. The investigation showed that he paid the rest to three of his employees.
On November 9, part of his parole and his suspension were revoked by the Paris Court of Appeal, which accuses him of not making the payments required to settle the fine and damages.
Its financial situation has already given rise on December 3 to the exceptional reopening of the hearing debates on the Elysée polls (studies granted without a call for tenders to companies of Patrick Buisson and Pierre Giacometti between 2007 and 2012 while he was secretary general of the Elysée), before the Paris Criminal Court. During the hearing, Claude Guéant had unsuccessfully tried to convince the judges of his difficulties in repaying his debt to the State, arguing a calamitous professional situation.
A “discourse of victimization”
In front of the court, he explained to live scantily, asphyxiated financially by the legal decisions which leave him only “1,622 euros in resources”, riddled with personal debt. He also said he bought part of his life insurance of 130,000 euros to help his children, who are struggling to find a job. His lawyer recalled that he kept only the usufruct on his Parisian apartment in the 16e district and its secondary house in Durtal (Maine-et-Loire), two properties seized by the courts as part of the investigation into the probable Libyan financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign in 2007.
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