The president of the departmental council of Gers, Philippe Martin (Socialist Party), who was minister of ecology during the five-year term of François Hollande, was sentenced, Tuesday, January 4, in Paris to two years in prison. He was convicted of “embezzlement of public funds” for having paid his ex-wife for a fictitious job as parliamentary assistant between 2002 and 2013.
“No material trace” of work
In solidarity with his ex-wife, Joëlle Martin, sentenced to a six-month probationary period for “complicity and concealment of embezzlement of public funds”, the former deputy of the Gers between 2002 and 2017, who had been minister of ecology, sustainable development and energy in the government of Jean-Marc Ayrault, between July 2013 and April 2014 will have to reimburse 238,000 euros, a sum it had received, at the National Assembly, civil party in this case. Both were declared ineligible for three years and will have to pay respectively 70,000 and 30,000 euros in fines.
The former couple could not provide “No material trace” M’s workme Martin who had “No material made available” ni “No contact with other assistants who were not aware” of his job, underlined the financial prosecutor Sébastien de La Touanne during their appearance on prior admission of guilt (CRPC) before the 32e chamber of the judicial tribunal of Paris. They kept a “Total discretion on this hiring”, he added. Mr. Martin had thus omitted to declare it to the High Authority for the transparency of public life (HATVP).
If there has been “Personal enrichment with public funds”, both have nevertheless “Testified to a certain capacity for amendment”, underlined the other representative of the public prosecutor Aurélien Létocart, justifying the suspended prison sentence, in “Perfect consistency” with other similar files.
The former minister and his ex-wife admit the facts
Like the sentence handed down, for example, against the former deputy Alain Marsaud, sentenced in 2018 to one year in prison and a fine of 300,000 euros for having paid his daughter for a fictitious job as a parliamentary collaborator.
Philippe Martin, 68, will also have to reimburse 194,000 euros to the National Assembly for having paid, with money from the Palais-Bourbon, a woman who worked for the PS in Auch between 2005 and 2012.
“I agree to recognize the facts and accept the proposed penalties”, said the former minister. Joëlle Martin, who was on videoconference, also acknowledged the facts and accepted the sentence negotiated with the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), conditions sine qua non to benefit from a CRPC.
The investigation started in 2017, following the receipt of two anonymous letters of denunciation by the Auch prosecutor’s office and the PNF.
The PNF then requested information from the National Assembly, the Urssaf and the HATVP and entrusted the investigations to the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption and Financial and Tax Offenses (OCLCIFF).