The mayor of Montauban (Tarn-et-Garonne), Brigitte Barèges (LR), was sentenced to 5 years of ineligibility with immediate effect by the criminal court of Toulouse (Haute-Garonne). This conviction comes in a case of embezzlement of public funds. She will have to leave her post quickly.
This decision will take effect after notification from the Prefect. A sentence of ineligibility with immediate effect for a sitting mayor is relatively rare.
Brigitte Barèges was also sentenced to 12 months suspended prison sentence and a fine of 15,000 euros. The prosecution had required five years of ineligibility with immediate application and 18 to 24 months suspended prison sentence.
Glowing articles in a local publication
“It’s hard, because five years of ineligibility with provisional execution, that means that it is over with this mandate which has barely started”, declared in December Brigitte Barèges at the end of a hearing which lasted more than 12 hours. She also said she “trusted justice” and said she hoped for an acquittal, as her lawyers had pleaded. During the hearing, she recognized a lack of “rigor”, even a certain “confusion”, while categorically denying any misappropriation of public funds.
The case, where she was the main implicated, takes place between 2012 and 2014. At the time, she was both mayor of Montauban and candidate for re-election to municipal. His former communications officer, Jean-Paul Fourment, ousted from his post following a disciplinary procedure, tells the courts to have been paid by the community to write articles laudatory to Brigitte Barèges in Le Petit Journal , a local publication.
In 2015, the mayor and former Member of Parliament was indicted for “embezzlement of public funds by a person holding public authority or invested with a public service mission”. She won mayoralty in 2001, ending 36 years of socialist rule, after a campaign focused on the fight against corruption and insecurity. Known for her remarks deemed homophobic and xenophobic, Brigitte Barèges has always denied the charges in this case.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr