A "break of the century" "unpublished, disproportionate": the National Financial Prosecutor on Tuesday ordered 10 to 12 years of imprisonment against the main actors of a colossal fraud to 385 million euros to the "tax carbon ", denouncing an" attack on the interests of the Nation. "
Thirty-six defendants have been tried by the Paris Criminal Court since the end of January for stealing 385 million euros from the tax authorities, an" out of the ordinary "amount, disproportionate ", insisted the two prosecutors of the PNF.
A" wholly new booty "that the representatives of the prosecution wanted to compare with those, much less, of" breaks of the century "reported by the press: 11 millions diverted by the conveyor Toni Musulin, 103 million euros of jewels stolen from Carlton of Cannes …
"At this level, we are confronted with real attacks on the interests of the Nation", insisted the magistrates, recalling as an example that the operation Sentinel had cost $ 321 million in 2015-2016
The "carbon tax" fraud, created between 2008 and 2009 on the market for the right to pollute, operated on the model of a simple VAT scam. It cost the state a total of 1.6 billion euros.
This record, its record, takes root in the Marseille district of the Basket and stretches between a myriad of companies and shields offshore accounts.
– "Web around the world" –
The defendants, with "223 bank accounts" in "25 countries", have woven according to the PNF "in a few weeks a web of companies all over the world", that it took "ten years" to untie.
Magistrates have identified "three main officials": Christiane Melgrani and Gerard Chetrit, who appear detainees, and Éric Castiel, targeted by an arrest warrant.
At the heart of the case, Christiane Melgrani, 59, who was nicknamed "Ma Dalton" in the press, the biggest risk: the prosecution asked against her 12 years of imprisonment and 10 million euros. As a recidivist, the former charismatic teacher who became manager of a piano bar and then "commercial engineer" in a building society had already been sentenced for drug trafficking.
The sexagenarian admits having participated in a "test" phase scam and money laundering, but the PNF considers that it has also contributed to setting up the scam itself, committed via two brokers on the "carbon quota" market.
It also "directed the partition that had to play one and the other ", according to the accusation. During the hearings, his co-defendants seemed to give names only with his agreement.
The prosecution asked ten years in prison and 20 million euros fine for the financier Gerard Chetrit, "trader" Fraud in the ostentatious way of life: "Can there be more serious scams in the organized group than the one for which he is judged?"
Ten years in prison and a fine of € 5 million were required against Éric Castiel, "hyphen" between the first two.
– "To crush the dead" –
Sentences from suspension to 7 years in prison were requested against the 33 other defendants, suspected to varying degrees to have participated in the fraud or its laundering by becoming investors, managers of straw, intermediaries …
Among them is a lawyer, Arié Goueta, against whom 5 years of prison, 500.000 euros of fine and a permanent prohibition to exercise were required. Like him, other professionals, accountant, promoter, have "betrayed the rules of the business world," said the prosecution.
Against Grégory Zaoui, familiar with the "carbon" files, fugitive, seven years and a million euros fine were required. And against Angelina Porcaro, companion of Christiane Melgrani, whose restaurant "La Cantinette" has seen transit intrigues and banknotes, five years and 150,000 euros.
The defendants have not ceased to "lie, flee their responsibilities or overwhelm the dead ", including Samy Souied, shot in Paris in 2010 in a probable settlement of accounts related to the" mafia "of carbon, have denounced the prosecutors.
The pleadings of the defenses must be staggered until March 30.