He was the essential man of the Sarkozy presidency. Former interior minister Claude Guéant, 76, will be tried in Nanterre in February for “Illicit financing” of his legislative campaign in 2012, because of the distribution of a leaflet in his favor by Pierre-Christophe Baguet, mayor of Boulogne-Billancourt and outgoing deputy for Hauts-de-Seine.
Claude Guéant is also referred to the criminal court for “Fraud for the reimbursement of campaign costs”.
In January 2012, Pierre-Christophe Baguet announced his support for Claude Guéant to succeed him. In a letter to his constituents, he detailed the reasons for his support for the minister. This leaflet had been denounced by the dissident candidate, Thierry Solère, who suspected Mr. Baguet for having financed it in part with money from the municipality. The former right-hand man of Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated in the second round by Mr. Solère, now close to Emmanuel Macron.
An investigation was opened in February 2014 and Claude Guéant was indicted in July 2017. “This case corresponds to old facts, dating back nearly ten years, in which Claude Guéant has never ceased to justify that he was not concerned by the slightest criminal qualification”, reacted to Agence France-Presse (AFP), his lawyer, Mr.e Philippe Bouchez El-Ghozi. “At the upcoming hearing, he will continue to justify his innocence in this case in which he appears more, in reality, as being the victim of the clumsy act of a third party”, he added.
His client is referred to the criminal court with six other people, and the hearing will be held on February 15 and 16, 2022, said Mr.e Stopper El-Ghozi.
Contacted, Thierry Solère, who has retained his seat as deputy (today LRM) since his victory against Claude Guéant, did not wish to comment. He had denounced the leaflet but had not become a civil party.
For his part, Pierre-Christophe Baguet, who is still the LR mayor of Boulogne-Billancourt, admitted his guilt and must be tried in the coming weeks during an appearance on prior admission of guilt (CRPC), sort of pleading -french guilty. He admits having inserted in a page of the municipal bulletin a message on the legislative elections, contributing in fact, according to the magistrates, to the campaign of Mr. Guéant.
“There is no harm to the city, no embezzlement of public funds and no personal enrichment of anyone. The mayor recognizes an error that the magistrates qualified as an offense “, reacted to AFP, Me Mario Stasi, lawyer for Pierre-Christophe Baguet. His client will be judged for “Participation in the financing of an electoral campaign by legal person by donation or by providing a benefit. “
Court cases series
This new trial for Claude Guéant is in addition to that of surveys paid for by the Elysée under Nicolas Sarkozy, for whom he is currently appearing in Paris for favoritism and embezzlement of public funds through negligence. Mr. Guéant is also targeted in the investigation of a possible Libyan funding of Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign in 2007.
In this sprawling affair, the shutters relating in particular to the sales of Flemish paintings and a villa on the Côte d’Azur, involving Claude Guéant and Alexandre Djouhri, were severed.
The two men await the requisitions of the financial prosecutor’s office, before the final decision of the investigating judge on their referral or not to the court. MM. Guéant and Djourhi, however, remain indicted, in particular for ” conspiracy “ within the framework of the central judicial information still in progress.
The former grand state clerk, now retired, was also definitively condemned in 2019 to two years of imprisonment, including a firm, 75,000 euros fine and a ban from exercising a public function for five years, in the case of Home Office cash bonuses.