The Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR) has announced the release of Edouard Balladur in the Karachi trial, linked to the hidden financing of his 1995 presidential campaign. The former Prime Minister was accused of “complicity in the abuse of property social “and” concealment.”
“I take note with satisfaction of the decision of the Court of Justice of the Republic which finally recognizes my innocence”, after “a quarter of a century of slander”, he reacted, quoted in a press release sent to AFP by his lawyers.
His former Minister of Defense, François Léotard, on his part was found guilty of “complicity in the abuse of social good” and sentenced to two years in prison with a suspended sentence of 100,000 euros. Both were absent from the deliberations.
In a press release, the latter announced his cassation appeal. “I am ashamed for French justice and its dangerous abuses,” he said. I will always defend the freedom of political decision ”.
The prosecution had requested on February 2 a year of suspended prison sentence and a 50,000 euros fine against Edouard Balladur, tried at 91 years old. A two-year suspended prison sentence and 100,000 euros fine has been requested against François Léotard, 78, prosecuted for “complicity”.
Edouard Balladur and François Léotard are accused of having imposed on two state-owned entities – which negotiated the sale of submarines and frigates to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan – a network of “useless” intermediaries on the commissions “Pharaonic”, the armament contracts then being almost finalized.
According to the prosecution, a portion of the approximately “550 million francs” (or “117 million euros”) actually paid to this network partially fed into the campaign account of candidate Balladur, then engaged in a fratricidal war on the right. with Jacques Chirac.
At the heart of the file is a deposit in cash and without proof of 10.25 million francs (1.5 million euros) on the account – deficit – of the candidate, three days after his defeat in the first round.
Edouard Balladur has always said that these funds came from donations from activists and the sale of gadgets at public meetings.
For the prosecution, there is a “link” between this sum and the cash withdrawn in Geneva a few days earlier by “useless” intermediaries.
“Guesses” without “evidence”, “rumors”, estimated the lawyers of Edouard Balladur and François Léotard, who pleaded for the release of the defendants.
In front of the Court, the latter firmly denied any infringement. “I feel perfectly at ease”, had launched Edouard Balladur during his questioning, insisting at length on the fact that his campaign account had been “expressly validated” by the Constitutional Council in October 1995.
For his defenders, this decision is authentic and the facts alleged against Mr. Balladur are therefore “archi, completely prescribed”.
The controversial court, the CJR, is the only one empowered to try members of the government for offenses committed in the performance of their duties.