Unlike his 13 co-defendants, the former French right-wing boss has not been convicted for arranging false invoices. They are only tried for “illegal campaign financing”.
He is not in the dock and yet we only talk about him. In the Biagmalian trial in Paris on Friday, several lawyers asked the court for a new investigation to “shed light on the role” of former UMP boss Jean-François Cope.
“We are not trialing here, we are trying to understand.” Luke Brosollet, the lawyer for one of Bygmalian’s officials, undoubtedly does well to clarify: the name of Jean-François Cope, though whitewashed in this case, has been the cause of Nicholas’ excessive spending trial since the opening of all lips. Is on Sarkozy’s presidential campaign in 2012. The former head of state is not present at the hearing, which is represented by his lawyer.
Unlike his 13 co-defendants – Bygmalian and UMP officials, campaign managers or accountants – he has not been convicted of a system of false invoices intended to pay UMPs, now LRs, a share of excessive expenses, and is simply “illegal.” “Attempted for. Campaign Financing ”. At the bar, the attorneys of the four men who were prosecuted succeeded each other to request additional information for the purpose of Jean-François Cope. The question will be decided at the time of the decision, with the President deciding at the end of the hearing.
It is the defense of former campaign manager, Guillaume Lambert, who initiates hostilities. The “new elements”, propel me to Christophe Ingren, deserve that the investigation be re-started to “really listen to Jean-François Cope, collect answers and verify their veracity”.
Among these elements, a loan contract between UMP and several banks since the summer of 2012 and in the amount of 55 million. The document was already in file, but the version discovered by Guillaume Lambert’s defense is signed and initials from the hand of the former party boss. “It is not credible that the Secretary-General does not know why UMP should borrow 55 million euros”, he insisted.
“If investigators had known these pieces, they would not have been satisfied with the responses of Jean-François Cope, who said he was foreign to all financial aspects”, continues the lawyer Luke Broslett of one of the former executives. Biagmalian. He also wants “clarification”. After all, Republicans, the civil party, are now claiming 16 million from the defendants – the amount of Bygmalian’s invoice has been wrongly attributed to the UMP.
“We’re going to tell us that these are four employees, the other knives, who said to themselves ‘We’re going to help the president, we’re all going to make a decision without knowing how to spend 20 million euros more than expected’ Are, and no one shall see anything “? This is a fable, it does not catch up “, I am taken to Broslette, who wants to know” who decided to cheat “.
“Nothing new”, the prosecutor gets angry. Condemning “staging” and “manipulation”, he says, the loan contract has been known to everyone “for a long time”.
In this case, which caused a series of explosions on the right, the Sarkozy and Copist camps have always been blamed for the fraud. Jean-François Cope says he knew nothing about the system of false invoices, which he may have discovered in the press. He benefited from his dismissal in the case, and should only be heard as a witness.
At the end of the investigation, the prosecution certainly “surprisingly found that he did not try to understand” why his party was “on the verge of default” in late April 2012. But he assumed that “nothing” proved that Jean-François Cope had been informed of the fraud or that he could have detected it.
The trial, which runs till 22 June, will resume on Tuesday. The week will be dedicated to interrogating the former rulers of Biagmalian. Jean-François Cope, scheduled to be heard next Thursday, will be heard later.