Illegal taking of interests: the mayor of Sérignan and 11 other defendants have still not been judged this Monday

Illegal taking of interests: the mayor of Sérignan and 11 other defendants have still not been judged this Monday

La Zac Les Jardins de Sérignan est située aux portes de Valras, loin du centre de Sérignan village. PS Archives – Midi Libre

The direct citation of the 12 defendants, including Frédéric Lacas, the mayor of Sérignan, and former president of the Agglo Béziers Méditerranée, prosecuted for illegal taking of interests or concealment of property from a offense, was deemed "inadmissible" by the Béziers court this Monday March 11. 

It's an old affair between seven former owners of land located on the Zac "Les Jardins de Sérignan" and the defense and urbanization association of the owners of Cosse de Falgairas Galine, the mayor Frédéric Lacas, as well as eleven other people, including a developer, an agent… ;nbsp;real estate and a lawyer.

One of the episodes took place this Monday, March 11, at the Béziers court. The Sérignan mayor and his alleged acolytes appeared as part of a direct summons. Four of them – Frédéric Lacas, the developer, the real estate agent and the lawyer – had to answer for & quot;illegal taking of interests". The other eight – the immediate family of the four, including the Lacas children – were prosecuted for "recealing property derived from a crime".  

On January 8, the court postponed the hearing until Monday, none of the defendants having traveled. This time, the trial took place. All the plaintiffs were present, as well as the four Biterrois accused of illegal taking of interests. 

An Afua, a Zac, owners, service providers, companies…

As a reminder, as indicated by Maître Karsenti, of the Paris Bar, who defends the plaintiffs, "we initially have an Afua& ;nbsp;or authorized urban land association, a public establishment under the supervision of the prefect, to which was superimposed, later, on the initiative of the mayor and president of Agglo de&nbsp At the time, a Zac, named "Les Jardins de l'Afua". Afua aims to develop the Zac, following a concession contract signed with the City of Sérignan. The lawyer and the developer are service providers for Afua, following several public contracts."

So much for "the foundations" of this affair. Next come the protagonists. "On the one hand, we have people – my clients – who were expropriated by Afua, of their land which they sold to him , forced, at 40 € per m2. On the other side, 12 companies created, between 2017 and 2023, by the mayor, the developer, the lawyer and the real estate agent . These different people intersect in the companies to which Afua resells the plots at prices much higher than 40 euros, after building permit issued before expropriation by the Sérignan mayor. Then these same service providers build numerous housing units on these plots which they resell at much higher prices." 

Did service providers and public actors derive personal interest ?

The lawyer continues: "Thus, these public service providers and actors, who have a public service mission, have derived a personal interest in benefiting from the expropriations that they themselves initiated and organized." 

The defense lawyers having raised objections of nullity and/or inadmissibility, the case was first judged on the form.  They put forward various elements: "Inaccuracies which do not allow a defense to be properly prepared"; "various inadmissibility", in particular, as Maître Neiller recalled, the counsel of the accused lawyer, the Béziers court which would not have jurisdiction, "l' case falling under the administrative court"; a complaint with the constitution of civil parties filed in Béziers in 2021 with an investigation by the investigating judge in progress… In short, each lawyer presented his arguments in order to obtain court, chaired by Christophe Rolland, the nullity and/or inadmissibility of the citation. 

After retiring for around twenty minutes, the court considered that it could not judge this case, without giving the reason for its decision. The president indicated "the inadmissibility of the citation". The case was therefore not examined on the merits. It will be up to the public prosecutor to follow up on it or not.

In addition, the other complaint filed in 2021 by these same complainants still remains in the hands of the investigating judge. 

I subscribe to read more

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(function(d,s){d.getElementById("licnt2061").src= ";r"+escape(d.referrer)+ ((typeof(s)=="undefined")?"":";s"+s.width+"*"+s.height+"*"+ (s.colorDepth?s.colorDepth:s.pixelDepth))+";u"+escape(d.URL)+ ";h"+escape(d.title.substring(0,150))+";"+Math.random()}) (document,screen)