The powerful French political couple, Les Balkany, is found guilty of money laundering and sentenced to a prison term by the Paris court
The French political couple Patrick and Isabelle Balkany were found guilty of money laundering and both were sentenced to prison in the Paris Court of Appeal on Wednesday.
The Balkany, former right-wing politicians, who ruled the chic Parisian suburb of Levallois-Perret for years, were sentenced to prison terms of five and four years respectively, thus sealing the fall of the ruling couple.
But they were not immediately put behind bars and are awaiting an appeal to the highest court in France. Patrick Balkany had been placed under house arrest in February due to health problems.
In March, the two men already lost a conviction for tax evasion after being convicted of using offshore accounts to conceal at least 13 million euros in assets from tax authorities.
The appeals court said on Wednesday that the couple had set up a “persistent fraud” system and therefore seized property and demanded payment of one million euros in damages.
They were also banned from holding elective office for 10 years, ending their long careers.
Patrick Balkany, 71, appeared in the Paris courtroom without his wife and made no comments after the decision. His lawyer Romain Dieudonne said he had five days to appeal, while his wife’s lawyer Pierre-Olivier Sur thought the decision was “excessive”.
The previous prison sentences were announced as evidence that the justice system no longer refrains from holding the powerful to account.