Thinned in a green shirt that has become too big, with long hair slicked back and shaved, Patrick Balkany said he was “relieved” during an impromptu interview in front of the gate of the Cossi mill, his home in Giverny (Eure)

“I am happy to come to rest, to find my wife, to find my dogs and my house”, he added alongside Isabelle Balkany, visibly happy to find her husband.

Earlier in the morning, she had tweeted “WEATHER ALERT Vigilance Orange Eure et

“Relieved is the wrong word and I can’t find another; I can’t find the word. When happiness is too intense, you can’t qualify it,” she added. , also interrogated in front of the gate of the mansion.

The release from prison of the former elected official had been discreet, before he decided to speak to the press who were waiting for him at his home in Giverny where he arrived shortly before 9:30 a.m.

Thursday, the Paris Court of Appeal granted Mr. Balkany’s request for sentence adjustment.

The judges took into account “the efforts of the convict to finally initiate since February 2022 the settlement of the considerable sums owed to the Public Treasury”, can we read in the decision.

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.

The former baron of Hauts-de-Seine and his wife Isabelle Balkany had been found guilty at first instance and then on appeal 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.

Mr. Balkany had been imprisoned in 2019 as soon as he was convicted, then released in February 2020 for health reasons, then placed under an electronic bracelet in March 2021. He had been reincarcerated in February for not having respected the obligations related to wearing his electronic bracelet.

A hundred “incidents” had notably caused the couple’s electronic bracelets to ring, forced to live at their home in Giverny.

“Prison is very hard, very difficult (…) It’s hell to be there, we can’t sleep, until two in the morning it screams, it hits. For a man my age or anyone it’s difficult,” he insisted on Friday.

His wife, whose wearing of the electronic bracelet had also been revoked, had been hospitalized four months after having, according to her husband, made a suicide attempt in February.

She had returned to her home on June 4 pending a possible summons to court.

In its decision of February 3 requesting the reincarceration of Mr. Balkany, the Rouen Court of Appeal (jurisdiction because of their domicile in Eure) considered that the Balkany spouses had “never accepted the constraints inherent in detention in home under electronic surveillance”, noting their “vehement or ironic attitude and remarks, sometimes outrageous or even outrageous” towards the staff of the prison administration or the sentence enforcement judge.

In addition to this conviction for tax evasion, Patrick Balkany and Isabelle Balkany were also definitively sentenced, in June 2021, for aggravated money laundering of tax evasion and for illegal taking of interest. Only the question of the quantum of the sentence remains pending, with a new trial scheduled for next October.