François Bayrou and ten other centrist executives and elected officials will have their fate decided by the Paris court on Monday morning in the case of the European parliamentary assistants. The 72-year-old triple presidential candidate, who appeared in court from October 16 to November 21, 2023, stated that he would be present for the announcement of the decision at 10 a.m. in front of the president of the 11th correctional chamber.
The case involves 11 disputed contracts, causing a total prejudice of 293,000 euros according to the European Parliament, the civil party. While on the stand, Bayrou denounced what he called a judicial “intoxication,” refuting the existence of any “system” benefiting his party.
Other individuals accused in the case include the former Minister of Justice Michel Mercier, age 76, five former Members of the European Parliament including Jean-Luc Bennahmias, age 69, three executives, and a parliamentary assistant from that time. The prosecution has asked for sentences ranging from 8 to 20 months of suspended prison and fines ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 euros, along with suspended ineligibility penalties.
The two parties, UDF and MoDem, are also being prosecuted: fines of 300,000 euros, including 100,000 euros to be served, and fines of 500,000 euros, including 200,000 euros to be served, have been requested, respectively. This case has completely disrupted the plans of MoDem’s president, whose offer of an alliance contributed to Emmanuel Macron’s election.
In 2017, returning to the government for the first time in twenty years, Bayrou left the Ministry of Justice after just one month, right after the investigation was opened. Minister of Justice Éric Dupond-Moretti, who was tried for illegal conflict of interest, was acquitted on November 29, a final decision.
Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt, who faced charges of favoritism, was dismissed during the reshuffle just before the decision to dismiss him on January 17. However, the financial prosecutor has appealed.
In addition, Marine Le Pen was sent to trial in December, alongside her father, her party, and many executives. They will be tried in the fall of 2024 for suspicions of embezzlement amounting to 6.8 million euros between 2009 and 2017.
A third judicial investigation is also ongoing concerning France Insoumise, but no one has been charged since it was opened at the end of 2018.