The Marseille Criminal Court sentenced Senator Jean-Noël Guérini to 3 years in prison, including 18 months, with house arrest. His brother Alexandre is sentenced to 6 years in prison with a deferred deposit warrant, twelve years after the start of a sprawling investigation.
At the end of a gigantic procedure, the former president of the general council of Bouches-du-Rhône Jean-Noël Guérini is sentenced to 3 years in prison including 18 months closed with house arrest, as well as a fine of 30,000 euros. and to 5 years of ineligibility.
The former strongman of the PS, who will have to leave his functions as senator and departmental adviser, will serve his sentence in house arrest.
His younger brother and key figure in this case, Alexandre, was sentenced to six years with a deferred deposit warrant.
Along with ten other defendants, they were accused of influence peddling, illegal taking of interest, abuse of corporate assets, and favoritism.
The justice notably reproached the former president of the general council of Bouches-du-Rhône Jean-Noël Guérini for having favored his brother Alexandre, entrepreneur in waste management, to obtain land he needed to enlarge a landfill.
“I have always separated the private interests of my brother and the general interest, I have never mixed the genres,” said the senator at the end of this first week of trial. The prosecution had requested four years in prison, two of which were closed against him, with a 70,000 euros fine and five years ineligibility.
Alexandre Guérini, for his part, was accused of having taken advantage of his brother’s position to put pressure on elected officials, to enrich himself or to favor relatives in his activities. Prosecutors requested eight years in prison with a committal warrant and a € 500,000 fine against him.
This affair, presented as “The affair” of favoritism in the waste industry, brings to light a web woven even in the services of Marseille Provence Métropole, the Departmental Council of Bouches-du-Rhône and its satellites.
“They made clientelism a mode of governance”: during the indictments, the prosecutor had castigated “the community of interests” of the brothers Jean-Noël and Alexandre Guérini intended to “serve the political interests” of one and to ” reap considerable profits “for each other.
In recent years, several investigating magistrates have succeeded in carrying out this sprawling investigation, which extends beyond French borders, in particular to Luxembourg and Switzerland.
In all, these are 11 years of investigation (2009 to 2020), 58 volumes, 40,000 pages, dozens of searches, 600 pieces of convictions gathered, hundreds of hours of telephone tapping, 150 people interviewed, 31 guards in view, 99 interrogations including 30 for Alexandre Guérini, alone.
In 2011, the affair shook the socialist federation of Bouches-du-Rhône, which Jean-Noel Guérini headed at the time. Under pressure, the former strongman of the department ended up leaving the Socialist Party in 2014.
During the four weeks that the trial lasted, ten other defendants including a company belonging to Alexandre Guérini also appeared at the bar of the Marseille Criminal Court to answer questions on the “Guérini system”.
Among them the former president of the Community of the Pays d’Aubagne et de l’Etoile, the companion of Alexandre Guérini, the former director of cleaning of the Urban Community of Marseille which has become Metropolis, or the former director of cabinet of Jean-Noël Guérini.
In early April, the prosecution requested against them sentences ranging from one year suspended to two years in prison, one of which is closed, and fines of 15,000 to 100,000 euros.