The mayor of Barcarès (Pyrénées-Orientales) could sleep well behind bars on Thursday evening.
Alain Ferrand, who is also vice-president of the urban community of Perpignan and candidate for the departmental elections, was indicted on Thursday for organized gang extortion, concussion and complicity in the destruction of evidence, after 48 hours in police custody, reports a press release from the Marseille prosecutor's office.
A magistrate from the Specialized Interregional Jurisdiction (JIRS) seized the liberties judge to decide on his placement in detention.
His first deputy, in charge of town planning, was also indicted and placed under judicial control.
Three municipal agents were also arrested on Tuesday, but they were finally released without any charges being brought against them.
That day, searches were carried out at the town hall of Barcarès.
Taxes imposed on traders
According to the Marseille prosecutor's office, the facts date back to the period from 2015 to 2020. The accused are accused of having used “coercion to, on the one hand, recover from the operators of campsites undue duties and taxes to finance road works and on the other hand, require traders to hire parasols from the town hall ”.
Clearly, the mayor is suspected of having imposed illegal taxes and exerted pressure and blackmail on his administered traders and campsite managers. “On the grounds that they make a profit during the tourist seasons, they are asked to contribute to the finances of the municipality. It is several tens of thousands of euros, almost 100,000 euros per year, for example, for one of the traders that I defend ”, notably assured to France Bleu Me Sylvain Donneve, who represents several plaintiffs in this case. "It's a kind of racketeering, it's quite common and it does not date from yesterday," commented for his part a representative of the Anticor association.
Alain Ferrand is not really at his first setbacks with the law. The chosen one, also restaurateur and owner of nightclub and casino, was convicted of abuse of social assets then illegal taking of interests in 1999, and tax evasion in 2001. This did not prevent him from being re-elected as soon as possible. the first round in the municipal elections of 2020.