Influence peddling at Senim: in Montpellier, the attorney general requests the acquittal of Franck Proust, president of Nîmes Métropole

Influence peddling at Senim: in Montpellier, the attorney general requests the acquittal of Franck Proust, president of Nîmes Métropole

Me Philippe Expert et Franck Proust, ce 1er juillet à la cour d'appel de Montpellier. MIDI LIBRE – François Barrère

The Nîmes elected official is retried in Montpellier after the quashing of his conviction for influence peddling to 12 months in prison, suspended, 15,000 € fine and five years of ineligibility, pronounced on April 14, 2022 by the Nîmes Court of Appeal. For legal and technical reasons, the prosecution believes that it can no longer pursue him.

After 18 years of proceedings, will the so-called Senim affair end in a final legal upheaval for Franck Proust, the president of Nîmes Metropole, threatened with a sentence of five years of ineligibility, twelve months suspended prison sentence and 15,000 € fine for influence peddling ?

Several advantageous real estate transactions

Declared guilty on April 14, 2022 by the Nîmes Court of Appeal of having offered to a Nîmes real estate agent, Jean-Luc Colonna d&# 39;Istria, very advantageous conditions in several real estate transactions in 2004 and 2006,  in return for the use in 2001 of a country premises, Franck Proust is retried this July 1 in Montpellier, after the intervention of the Court of Cassation.

The high court overturned the Nîmes decision on a legal point. For the prosecution, the period covered by this influence peddling began in November 2002 and ended in February 2006, but the judges retained in their decision the provision of this premises camping, "end of 2001, beginning of 2002". A date prior to the period covered by the prevention: impossible, considered the Court of Cassation, which therefore sent back the' case to be judged in Montpellier.

A legal difficulty in the case

"Do you agree to appear voluntarily" on these facts outside of prevention, asks President Henri Pons at the opening of the hearing to Franck Proust and Jean-Luc Colonna d'Istria, prosecuted him for concealment of influence peddling? Both refuse.

General Advocate Isabelle Delande then takes the floor. "With this refusal of the two defendants to appear on the facts of 2001, your court is confronted with a difficulty in the case: part of the elements of the offense are not in the prevention. A from the moment when the constituent elements are not in the charge, the court must enter into the process of acquittal.& ;quot;

Taking up the image mentioned in the file of a "elevator return" to describe the acts linking the elected official to the promoter, the magistrate continues the metaphor. "The court is not informed of the outward journey of this elevator, and cannot therefore convict it.  You will only be able to enter the path of acquittal for influence peddling and necessarily the path of acquittal for receiving stolen goods.

"Something that broke my life, my career"

The hearing continues, however, with the president seeming determined to examine the merits of the case, while the defense contests Anticor's constitution as a civil party. "I have been suffering from this situation for more than 20 years, which apart from legal problems is only rumor problems" estimates at the bar Franck Proust."Yes or no I did an act which harmed the city of Nimes à la Senim, in Nîmes ? I will be 20 years younger, I will do the same thing. Through this file I have only respected the decisions of the municipal council taken unanimously. It’s something that destroyed my life, my career, my parents who are there, my children."

Franck Proust then details the progress of the contentious real estate transactions, one of which, relating to the land on which the brewery "Les Trois Brasseurs" is located, near the Costières stadium, would have allowed Jean -Luc Colonna d'Istria to make significant profits by simply playing middleman.

Rent paid in cash

"For influence peddling, there must be a corruption pact. I would like someone to show me where the corruption pact is" insists Franck Proust, while the court wonders about payment, in cash , from his country premises rented to the Nîmes developer. "To pay 146.66 €, you need small coins" notes the president. 

But the preliminary position immediately mentioned by the prosecution suggests that the day could end, late, with requisitions dropping charges. The decision will in all cases be put under advisement.

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