It's the end of a long nightmare
": French entrepreneur Mathias Echène was acquitted on Wednesday April 7 by the Hong Kong justice after more than three years' imprisonment for money laundering, his lawyers said.
Read also: Covid-19: Hong Kong justifies tying children in isolation to their beds
A former trader, he had converted to building luxury homes in Bali.
Following a trade dispute, his associates, including a Hong Kong man, initiated civil and criminal proceedings against him in Hong Kong.
In March 2015, the Frenchman, originally from Aveyron, was sentenced - in his absence - by a Hong Kong court to pay compensation of nearly three million euros to his former associates.
He was then arrested and imprisoned in July 2017 in Bali, before being extradited in September 2019 to Hong Kong.
Very weakened, he was released on bail in November 2020, a few days before his trial for money laundering.
His acquittal on Wednesday is "
a magnificent victory against injustice and slander,
" one of his lawyers, Clémence Witt, told AFP.
The innocence of Mathias Echène is finally recognized, at the end of a procedure marred by serious irregularities, which have been sanctioned both by the United Nations and by the French courts
", she adds.
In August 2019, the UN condemned the arbitrary nature of his detention and demanded his immediate release
," recalls his other lawyer, Victor Champey.
And on March 17, 2021, the French Court of Cassation definitively rejected the appeals against the judgments of the Paris Court of Appeal which prohibited the execution of the decisions of the justice of Hong Kong on French territory,
" he said. -He specifies.
On the side of Mathias Echène's family, it is “
the explosion of happiness
The wait the last few days has been awful.
We are overjoyed,
”says Eléonore Echène, her sister.
After his release on bail in November, he rediscovered daylight, freedom, healthy food
, ”she said.
Mathias Echène, 51, "
will return to France as quickly as possible, where her three children are waiting for her,
" she adds.