Swimming pool, luxury car…, the “Bernard Tapie of Grandes-Ventes” led the high life

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This Tuesday, March 5, 2024, five of them will appear before the Dieppe criminal court for a hearing which will last more than 5 hours.

They are accused, depending on the degree of involvement of each, of misuse of corporate assetsforgeries, bankruptcy, breach of trust or even scams.

A success and a new lifestyle

It all started with the dazzling success of a man who decided with his mother to create a business in the field of construction materials.

Thanks in particular to Internet, the company is experiencing rapid development. The man, now 42 years old, is ambitious and quickly intoxicated by this success. He also declares on the stand that he is sometimes considered to be the “ Bernard Tapie des Grandes-Ventes”, which does not fail to make the court smile.

This entrepreneurial success is also accompanied by an increase in lifestyle. Major work is being done on the house which belongs to his wife and a poolwe ride in luxury car German and we play. The man confesses to having been able to spend between 300 and 400 euros on various games “which enriched the state” will underline his lawyer, Maître Dorange.

His generosity is also expressed towards others: travel are paid to employees and their families in Corsica or in Iceland.

Creation of new companies

Of course, all this will not last long, society suffers and is placed in judicial liquidation. It is also the liquidator who will be the first to alert the courts to possible irregularities or embezzlement.

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But a priori the entrepreneur believes in his lucky star and in his ability to bounce back and, by joining forces with those he considers to be his best friends, creates new companies in the same sector of activity.

Here again, embezzlement will appear according to the courts: attempts to have VAT reimbursed on fake invoicesor even a loan from a bank diverted from its purpose (the work) to ensure the remuneration of the partners.

“We were all manipulated”

On the stand, the five defendants adopt a very different position. The main defendant admits everything and apologizes, but he wants everyone to assume their responsibilities in this matter. Her mother admits that she was a little naive:

I took care of my sick husband a lot, I trusted everyone.

His wife invokes control: “He decided everything and when he decided, he did it”. The President is obliged to insist that the defendant admit that she knew that the funds for the work, the cars or the trips came from the company.

The two ex-best friends also have divergent positions. One admits that everything did not go according to the rules. The second also, but he vehemently attacks the main defendant:

We have all been manipulated. He had hired me so when he suggested that we team up to create a new company, I felt indebted. But today he is made to seem like an angel when he is not.

In this case, the state has filed a civil suit regarding the attempted VAT fraud and is claiming 7,000 euros in damages. Two individuals who have never seen their tiling order are demanding a refund as well as 1,200 euros in damages for one.

A very complex matter

For the Prosecutor's Office, the facts are established for all of the defendants and to request sentences ranging from 3 years in prison including two years of probationary suspension for the main defendant accompanied by a definitive ban on managing a company to 12 months suspended for the mother. The representative of the Public Prosecutor's Office also requests bans on managing a company for 5 or 3 years for the four co-defendants.

The latter's lawyers all emphasized the weakness of the case and the absence of material evidence and requested the release of their clients.

The lawyer for the main defendant underlined her client's transparency towards investigators:

He wants to be able to look at himself in the mirror. He accepts what he did, but he confirms that none of the offenses were committed without the other defendants being aware.

The judges gave themselves a few days to analyze this complex case. They will deliver their deliberations on April 2.

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