The trial before the Nanterre Criminal Court for alleged corruption during the award, in 1998, of the huge district heating and air conditioning contract for the entire La Défense business district, this Monday, January 11, turned into a fiasco. The president of the court, Olivier Protard, from the first day of a hearing scheduled for five days, granted the requests of the lawyers of the five defendants to cancel the procedure, initiated in 2001. He mentioned, in a decision very rare, a “Unreasonable time” who deprived the defendants “The capacity to defend oneself and the right to a fair trial”.
It had indeed taken almost twenty years of investigation and procedure – “Exactly nineteen years and seven months, or 7,025 days”, calculated Me Jean-Didier Belot, lawyer for Bernard Forterre, one of the defendants -, and seven investigating judges to reach this hearing, which ends in fishtail.
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In 2002, the Mixed Union of District Heating of Defense (Sicudef), which brings together the department and the municipalities concerned (Nanterre, Courbevoie and Puteaux), granted the operation of heating and air conditioning to the company Enertherm for 30 years. the outcome of a call for tenders judged “Abnormal” by the General Directorate for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control, which then appealed to justice. Despite seven competing offers, some of which lower priced, the contract was awarded, during an expeditious commission, to Enertherm.
This company, created for the occasion, had the same shareholders, whose names were obscured in the documents provided, as those of the former Climadef concessionaire, whose management was however not without reproach. His responsibility had been implicated in a doubly fatal accident, the explosion of a boiler, which occurred in 1994.
Fake bills and suitcases of dollars
The investigation into acts of corruption and influence peddling revealed financial circuits with false invoices and suitcases of dollars passing through multiple Luxembourg companies to be handed over to the then mayor of Puteaux and omnipotent president of Sicudef, Charles Ceccaldi -Raynaud, suspected of having received more than 5 million francs, or 770,000 euros. Gold, “The main protagonist of the case, Charles Ceccaldi-Raynaud, died on July 18, 2019 at the age of 94, and the public action is therefore extinguished against him”, noted the president.
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