|Patrick & Isabelle Balkany|
Patrick Balkany, the former right-wing mayor of the Paris suburb of Levallos-Perret, and his wife Isabelle, who appealed their convictions for money laundering and aggravated tax fraud to the Court of Appeal (Cour d'Appel de Paris), had their convictions affirmed and Balkany's sentence actually increased. They now have sentences of five and four years, respectively, are ineligible for political office for a decade, and each has a fine of €100,000, plus €1m in damages.
The couple, who evaded both France's Wealth Tax (ISF), as well as income tax, and reportedly ove €4m, may have a possible appeal to the Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation). They allegedly stole millions of Euros of public funds while in office, and are said to be worth €16m, with extensive properties abroad, including in Morocco and the French West Indies, with funds stashed in offshore accounts.
The defendants have prior convictions, dating back in 1996, for using municipal employees for personal matters, including one as a chauffeur. Their principl allegations, that their wealth was largely inherited, was not accepted by the court. Given that French politicians guilty of white-collar crimes are rarely charged let alone spend time in prison, the case is a significant money laundering conviction.