Mr. Guéant was sentenced to an 18-month prison term, 12 months of which was suspended on probation for two years. For the firm part of his prison sentence (six months), the court requested an arrangement in the form of house arrest under electronic surveillance. Mr. Guéant, absent during the deliberations, was also fined 30,000 euros.
His lawyer immediately appealed the judgment.
“Mr. Guéant has the feeling of not having been heard by justice“During his trial in October, reacted Me Philippe Bouchez El Ghozi to AFP.
“We do not yet know the motivations“judgment, but”obviously, Mr. Guéant does not agree with this condemnation“, continued his lawyer, assuring that there was “no campaign account scams“.
Former Secretary General of the Presidency (2007-2011) then Minister of the Interior (2011-2012), this essential man of the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, now 77 years old, was in 2012 candidate for deputy in the 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.
The court also prohibited Mr. Guéant from exercising 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 judicial agent of the State, civil party, also specified the president.
– Cumbersome letter –
A four-page letter is at the heart of this case.
In a 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 two defendants disputed, throughout the trial, having sought to have this letter financed by the town of Boulogne-Billancourt.
On Tuesday, the court also sentenced Mr. Baguet for illicit campaign financing, to eight months’ imprisonment with a simple suspended sentence 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“, he argued.
A print shop manager, convicted of illicit campaign financing, and two former town hall employees were also sentenced to simple suspended prison sentences and fines.
– “Probity of future elected officials“-
In its requisitions, the prosecution had requested three years’ imprisonment with probationary suspension against Claude Guéant. “The probity of future elected officials begins with the probity of the candidates seeking the votes“, had declared the prosecutor Nathalie Foy.
Mr. Guéant had however assured not to be “guilty of nothing“. The former minister, who is not on his first legal adventure, had expressed his feeling of “great injustices“facing criminal proceedings”repeated“.
Mr. Guéant is the first tenant of Place Beauvau to have been imprisoned, from December 13, 2021 to February 9, 2022. Justice had estimated that he did not pay the fine and damages on time. he had been ordered to pay in the so-called Home Office cash bonus case.
The ex-minister must also be retried in the Elysee polls file, after appealing his sentence in January 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.