Present at the hearing, Mr. Griset, who exercised the profession of taxi driver for more than 30 years, must answer for “breach of trust” at the expense of the National Confederation of Crafts, Trades and Services ( Cnams) of the North.
A sum of 130,000 euros belonging to this structure, which Mr. Griset had been running since 1991, had been placed in his PEA.
“We contest the lawsuits for breach of trust,” his lawyer Patrick Maisonneuve told AFP before the hearing.
This sum was deposited in this account “with the tacit agreement of Cnams, it appeared in the balance sheet of Cnams as still belonging to it: it is a transparent and good faith operation”, he assured.
These 130,000 euros are part of the assets and interests that the minister failed to declare, in August 2020, after his appointment to the government, to the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATVP).
On December 8, the Paris Criminal Court sentenced him to a six-month suspended prison sentence and a three-year suspended sentence of ineligibility for the “incomplete or false declaration” of his financial situation. He had resigned from the government in the process, while appealing this conviction.
For the part judged in Lille, the former minister faces five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 375,000 euros.
Before the Paris court, he claimed to have received in August 2019 “mandate” from Cnams to “make this sum grow over a short period of time in order to buy real estate”. He was pleased with the capital gain of 19,000 euros made in eleven months.
“My mandate was to manage this money as president of Cnams. No longer being president, this mandate ended. This money did not belong to me. It never belonged to me before being minister and even less afterwards”, he had insisted, also ensuring that he had been “badly advised”.
The HATVP had taken legal action after noting the omission of Mr. Griset and Tracfin, the anti-money laundering unit of Bercy, had made a report to the Lille prosecutor’s office.
For the HATVP, the omission to declare was essentially intended “to prevent the revelation of facts likely to receive the criminal qualification of breach of trust”.
The Cnams, as a legal person, did not have the right to open a PEA, reserved for natural persons.