The judgment confirms in all its provisions the decision of the Evry sentence enforcement court of May 30, 2022, which had released Patrick Balkany, without his having to wear an electronic bracelet.
The convict will have to “repair (…) the damage caused by the offence, (…) obtain the prior authorization of the sentence enforcement judge for any trip abroad” and “prove regular payment taxes”, decided the justice.
“This decision is irreproachable in law, because nothing justifies the continued detention of a 73-year-old man who has already served two-thirds of his sentence,” his lawyers Robin Binsard and Romain Dieudonné told AFP.
According to them, Mr. Balkany will return to his home in Giverny, in the Eure.
His wife, Isabelle Balkany, immediately posted a photo of their dogs on their property on Twitter, with the message “Tomorrow, we are waiting for you”, adorned with a multitude of hearts.
In front of the town hall of Levallois-Perret, where Patrick Balkany had reigned for decades, the reactions were more mixed.
“A young person who is going to steal something, he will do his time (in prison). He does not do his time, it’s not normal”, denounces to AFPTV Sylvette Derrien, 70, adding “but apart from that, I have nothing against Balkany”. Joëlle Gerval, 75, on the contrary validates his release: “I think that if he has not understood now, he will never understand, so it is good that he is leaving.”
The spouses had been convicted of tax evasion between 2009 and 2015.
More specifically, they are accused of not having paid wealth tax between 2010 and 2014, of having paid a lower amount in 2015, as well as of having paid a largely undervalued income tax between 2009 and 2014.
After having spent five months in detention for tax evasion, then having been released under an electronic bracelet for health reasons in February 2020, the former elected official returned to prison last February due to numerous breaches of his obligations.
His wife had been hospitalized after having, according to her husband, made a suicide attempt. She returned to her home on June 4 pending a possible summons to court.
For his part, Mr. Balkany had been imprisoned since February 7 in Fleury-Mérogis. On May 30, the Evry sentence enforcement court granted him conditional release but the prosecution appealed, effectively keeping him behind bars.
On Thursday, the Court of Appeal took into account “the convict’s efforts to finally initiate since February 2022 the settlement of the considerable sums owed to the Public Treasury”, can we read in its judgment.
This “awareness”, associated with the “quantum of sentence he has now executed” and the “extremely low risk of recidivism” led the sentencing chamber to accede to his request.
– “Several pathologies” –
She also took into account his state of health because “on the eve of his 74th birthday, (Patrick Balkany) presents several pathologies noted by expertise” and not disputed.
But the court warns: this is “a final warning” and in the event of non-compliance with his commitments, Mr. Balkany will have to serve his sentence in prison, the end of which is scheduled for April 21, 2023.
In addition to this conviction for tax fraud, the Balkany spouses were also definitively sentenced, in June 2021, for aggravated money laundering of tax fraud and for illegal taking of interest.
Patrick Balkany is targeted by other investigations.
He was indicted in Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine), in February 2021, for abuse of corporate assets, embezzlement of public funds and illegal taking of interests, suspected of having made available to his son-in-law buildings of offices, without payment of rent.
In another case, where he is accused of having used municipal agents as private drivers, his indictment for embezzlement of public funds was confirmed last December by the investigating chamber.