The Creteil Criminal Court sentenced Mathieu Gallet, the current president of Radio France, for having signed contracts that would have favored two consulting companies between 2012 and 2014 while he was at the head of the INA. He said he would appeal.
The verdict fell for Mathieu Gallet. The current head of Radio France was sentenced Monday by the court of Créteil to one year of suspended sentence and 20,000 euros fine for offense of favoritism, while he chaired the INA. He is accused of having signed, between 2012 and 2014, contracts that cost more than 400,000 euros to the public institution without prior call for competition. The prosecution had required a year and a half of suspended sentence and 40,000 euros fine. Mathieu Gallet's lawyers announced that he was appealing his conviction. "Given the conditions under which the investigation and the hearing took place, the court's decision is not a surprise. We immediately appeal for the Court to examine this case with serenity and respect for the rights of the defense, "they explained at the exit of the court.
Amélie Cladière, prosecutor in this case, suspected fraudulent use of public money for personal purposes. In the viewfinder of the magistrate, a first contract with Denis Pingaud, an audiovisual professional paid as an external consultant by the INA. Remunerated 5000 euros per month, he received 130,000 euros excluding taxes, billed by a company he ran. This total amount should have forced the establishment to put the bid in competition, to respect the regulation of the public markets. For Ms. Cladière, Mathieu Gallet has paid a "personal coach" to conquer the position of boss of Radio France. An attack that Mathieu Gallet considers "at least insulting, at worst libelous".
The other contentious contract was concluded in 2013 between consulting firm Roland Berger Strategy and INA for a total of 289,000 euros excluding taxes. It had indeed been awarded after a call for tenders, but a call for tenders deemed "too short" by the prosecutor, and distorted by Mathieu Gallet who would have communicated information about the project to Roland Berger as early as 2010.
A highly political legal case
The lawyers for Mathieu Gallet denounced the "partiality" of the public prosecutor in this case. According to information confirmed by the defense lawyers, the CEO of Radio France even filed a complaint against the prosecutor of Créteil for violation of the secrecy of the investigation. According to the former president of the INA, the investigation for favoritism was not officially closed when, on June 23, the prosecutor's office summoned press agencies to announce the return of Mathieu Gallet in correctional matters. The complainant asserts that at that time he had not been made aware of this decision. The complaint was first filed by the Paris prosecutor. But the lawyers of Mathieu Gallet have seized the general prosecutor of the Court of Appeal of Paris.
The defense also denounces a case that is the result of a political instrumentalization of the prosecution. Supporters of Mathieu Gallet point out, for example, the fact that the date of the correctional referral of the case follows barely a week the controversy that had opposed Radio France François Bayrou, then Minister of Justice, around the revelation of the case of fictitious jobs of MoDem.
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The boss of Radio France does not intend to resign. The senior official assured that even if sentenced, he would complete his mandate at the head of the house round, scheduled to last until May 2019. Indeed, for Mathieu Gallet, the fault is to be put on the account of his ignorance of public procurement procedures. According to him, the rules were "totally unknown to him" when he arrived at the head of the public establishment. So for him it is "teams in place" at INA who are at fault. The latter did not send him "warning signals" about the need for a call for tenders.
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