The former UDI deputy of the North François-Xavier Villain was sentenced Wednesday on appeal to a fine of 20,000 euros for non-declaration to the High Authority for Transparency in Public Life (HATVP), without the ineligibility pronounced in first instance, learned AFP from a source close to the case.
The mayor of Cambrai (North) was sentenced on March 2, 2021 to two months of suspended imprisonment, a fine of 10,000 euros and one year of ineligibility, for not having declared in 2017 inheritance tax, as well as local elected officials' allowances.
This decision puts an end to a story a little absurd, I am happy because the court of appeal puts things in their place, sentences me to a fine, (...) heavy of course, but conversely, dismisses all the convictions that I found infamous, "responded the elected 73-year-old to AFP.
Mr. Villain was found guilty of failing to declare an estate, whose division was recent, for 268,000 euros or 53% of his net wealth that year. He was also convicted for not having declared 75,000 euros in local elected officials and 40,000 euros related to his mandates as general councillor, or nearly 30% of his income over the period 2012-2015. The former deputy (2002-2017), mayor for more than thirty years, spoke of "technical errors in an administrative declaration", recognizing a "stupidity". He indicated that he would not lodge an appeal in cassation.
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During the trial at first instance, he had claimed to have been "mistaken" because of a recent change in his assets and confusion about the withholding tax. "I obviously paid all my taxes, I never had any tax adjustment in my life," he said. The prosecutor's office had pointed out that the former MP, a lawyer by profession, had himself voted for the law on the transparency of public life in 2013, which had introduced the obligation for public decision-makers to declare their assets to the HATVP.