The trial in Paris on charges of moral harassment of the former CEO of France Télécom and six other senior executives of the company, who are accused of causing a wave of staff suicides amid a brutal corporate restructuring plan, ended on Thursday. While the verdicts will only finally be announced in December, the prosecution has demanded that the defendants be handed maximum sentences, which include jail terms of between eight months and one year. Mediapart turned to Rachel Saada, a French lawyer specialised in labour law cases and who notably represented the families of Renault staff who took their lives in a wave of suicides at the carmaking group between 2006-2007, for her analysis of the trial, and its implications for corporate culture in France.
At the end of a trial of more than two-and-a-half months on moral harassment charges of the former CEO of France Télécom and six other top executives, whose brutal plan of cost-cutting and job-axing in the mid 2000s was cited as the cause of dozens of suicides and attempted suicides among personnel, Orange – as the company was renamed in 2013 – has offered to pay damages to the victims and relatives, while staff unions are demanding that compensation be paid by the defendants themselves.
French wheeler-dealer tycoon Bernard Tapie,76, who built his fortune from buying and asset-stripping businesses before selling them on, and who was once jailed for match fixing when he owned football club Olympique de Marseille, has been acquitted by a Paris court, along with four other co-defendants including Orange CEO Stéphane Richard, of charges of fraud over a controversial state payout made to him in 2008 of more than 400 million euros.
Relatives of some of the more than 30 staff at the telecoms giant, now renamed Orange, who committed suicide during a brutal job-axing and restructuration programme say they hope the verdicts at the end of a two-month trial of the company's former CEO and six other senior executives on moral harassment charges will serve to prevent similar management practices in other corporations.
An appeal by former French president Nicolas Sarkozy against a decision to prosecute him on charges of corrupting a senior magistrate to obtain information in a legal case concerning him has been rejected, and he is now expected to stand trial within months.
About 2,000 youngsters, including 50 disabled teenagers, were chosen out of 4,000 volunteers for the first trial of a new national civic service, imbued with a military ethos, which was first proposed by President Emmanuel Macron during his election campaign.
In an ongoing trial in Paris, the former boss of France Télécom, the now renamed Orange telecommunications giant, along with six of his former top executives, stand accused of moral harassment of staff in a brutal four-year cost-cutting plan to axe 22,000 jobs, during which more than 30 employees took their own lives, including by immolation, hanging and defenestration. At least 13 others attempted suicide, and many more were diagnosed with depression. One of the latter is Yves Minguy, a highly skilled computing engineer who, after 35 years with the company, was humiliatingly posted to answer the telephone at a customer call centre. He took to the witness stand last week and afterwards told Mediapart of the duty he felt to speak “for those who are no longer here”.
Public prosecutors have ended their summing up in the trial on corruption, tax evasion and money laundering charges of Patrick Balkany, a veteran figure of the French conservative movement, mayor of Paris suburb Levallois-Perret, whose more than 40-year political career has been largely tainted by scandal. Unlike the leniency often displayed in political corruption cases in France, the prosecutors called for the 70-year-old to be sentenced to seven years in jail and barred from holding public office for ten years, prompting outrage from Balkany and his lawyer. Mediapart’s legal affairs correspondent Michel Deléan reports on the hearing at the central Paris law courts.
Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right Rassemblement national party (formerly the Front national), has been sent for trial for posting images of atrocities carried out by the so-called Islamic State group, under the charge of spreading “violent messages that incite terrorism or pornography or seriously harm human dignity”, which carries a maximum three-year jail sentence.
An Iraqi court has sentenced to death three French men who it found guilty of having joined the ranks of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, where they were among 12 French citizens captured by US-backed forces and transferred to Iraq.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde was called by French tycoon Bernard Tapie to testify as a witness at his current trial in Paris on charges of fraud over a staggering 2008 award to him of 404 million euros out of public funds. The payout was made while Lagarde was French finance minister, and followed her approval of a private arbitration process which has since been overturned. Washington-based Lagarde has declined to appear at the trial, where she would have been a key witness, apparently because of her busy agenda. Mediapart’s Laurent Mauduit has discovered that in fact Lagarde has every opportunity to attend the trial, but has instead decided to take part in an unrelated event just a few kilometres away from the Paris courthouse.
A Paris court has ordered Swiss bank UBS to pay a record fine of 3.7 billion euros and another 800 million euros in compensation to the French government after it was found guilty of laundering money for its wealthy clients in France in order for them to evade due tax payments.
The trial has opened in Aix-en-Provence of nine people, including two former French military pilots, a customs officer and a celebrity bodyguard, accused of running a trans-Atlantic cocaine smuggling scam between the Dominican Republic and France using a Dassault executive jet, in a case marked by intrigue and derring-do escapes.
Two police officers from the Paris 'anti-gang' squad went on trial on Monday accused of raping a Canadian tourist at their headquarters in the French capital in 2014, after they met her in a nearby Irish pub.