Claude Guéant sentenced to six months in prison for fraudulent campaign expenses

The court of Nanterre sentenced Tuesday, November 22 the former minister Claude Guéant to eighteen months of imprisonment including twelve accompanied by a suspended probation, at the end ofa trial where Mr. Guéant was tried for fraud regarding his 2012 legislative campaign.

For the firm part of his six-month prison sentence, the court ordered a sentence adjustment, requesting house arrest under electronic surveillance. Mr. Guéant, who was absent during the deliberation, was also sentenced to a fine of 30,000 euros.

The prosecution accused him of having knowingly reduced his campaign accounts when he was a candidate for deputy in Hauts-de-Seine in 2012, and of having thus obtained a reimbursement of more than 30,000 euros.

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Mr. Guéant was also sentenced to a ban on practicing any commercial or industrial profession for a period of five years. He must also pay 30,529 euros “for the undue reimbursement of his campaign expenses” to the legal agent of the State, civil party.

A letter to voters at the heart of the matter

His lawyer, Me Philippe Bouchez El Ghozi, has announced that he is appealing. Mr. Guéant has the feeling that he has not been heard by justice” during his trial in October, he reacted to Agence France-Presse.

“We don’t yet know the motivations” judgment, “Obviously, Mr. Guéant does not agree with this condemnation”continued his lawyer, assuring that there was “no campaign account scams”.

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A four-page letter to voters is at the heart of the matter. In this letter of January 3, 2012, Pierre-Christophe Baguet, UMP mayor 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 two defendants deny having sought to have this letter financed by the town of Boulogne-Billancourt. Mr. Baguet, for his part, was sentenced on Tuesday to eight months’ imprisonment with a simple reprieve and a fine of 3,750 euros.

“The conviction and the severity of the sentence are incomprehensible”reacted to AFP his lawyer, Me Mario Stasi. “We are considering appealing, as this is a case where there is no embezzlement of public funds, no personal enrichment, no harm to the city”.

Claude Guéant had been sentenced on appeal in January 2017 for complicity in embezzlement of public funds and concealment in another case: that of cash bonuses from the Ministry of the Interior. He had been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, including one year suspended probation, and a fine of 75,000 euros. Incarcerated on December 13, 2021, he had been granted parole and had left the prison of Health, in Paris, on February 9, 2022.

The World with AFP

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