He had kept “total discretion over the hiring” of his former partner. Philippe Martin, the current socialist president of the departmental council of Gers and former Minister of Ecology of François Hollande, was sentenced on Tuesday in Paris to two years in prison for embezzlement of public funds, for having paid his ex- wife for a fictitious job of parliamentary assistant between 2002 and 2013.
In solidarity with his ex-wife Joëlle Martin, sentenced to a six-month probationary period for complicity and concealment of embezzlement of public funds, the former member of the Gers will have to reimburse the 238,000 euros she had received in total at the National Assembly , civil party. Both were declared ineligible for three years and will have to pay respectively 70,000 and 30,000 euros in fines.
“No material trace”
The former couple could not provide “any material trace” of work by Joëlle Martin who had “no material placed at her disposal” or “any contact with the other assistants who were not aware” of her employment , underlined the financial prosecutor Sébastien de La Touanne during their appearance on preliminary admission of guilt (CRPC) before the 32nd chamber of the judicial tribunal of Paris.
They kept “total discretion over this hiring”, he added. Joëlle Martin had thus omitted to declare it to the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATVP). If there was “personal enrichment on public funds”, both nevertheless “testified to a certain capacity for amendment”, underlined the other representative of the public prosecutor Aurélien Létocart, justifying the suspended prison sentence, in “perfect consistency” with other similar files. Like the sentence handed down, for example, against the former deputy Alain Marsaud, sentenced in 2018 to one year in prison and a fine of 300,000 euros for having paid his daughter for a fictitious job as a parliamentary collaborator.
The former minister admitted the facts
Philippe Martin, 68, will also have to reimburse 194,000 euros to the National Assembly for having paid, with money from the Palais Bourbon, a woman who worked for the PS d’Auch between 2005 and 2012. “I agree to recognize the facts and accept the proposed penalties, ”declared the former Minister of Ecology from July 2013 to March 2014 and former president of the French Biodiversity Agency. Joëlle Martin, who was on a videoconference, also acknowledged the facts and accepted the sentence negotiated with the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), sine qua non conditions for benefiting from a CRPC.
The investigation started in 2017, after the Auch prosecutor’s office and the PNF received two anonymous letters of denunciation. The PNF then requested information from the National Assembly, the Urssaf and the HATVP and entrusted the investigations to the Central Office for the fight against corruption and financial and fiscal offenses (OCLCIFF)