It is a part of the Tapie affair that we had forgotten but justice has just exhumed. The Court of Justice of the Republic, the only one empowered to judge ministers for acts committed during the exercise of their functions, indicted at the end of last week Eric Woerth for a tax gift that he would have granted when he was to the Budget to Bernard Tapie after his controversial arbitration.
As part of the 2008 arbitration, since canceled in civil proceedings, which allowed the former president of Olympique de Marseille to touch 403 million euros to settle his dispute with Credit Lyonnais concerning the sale of Adidas , part of the money was paid to the holding company of the businessman GBT (Bernard Tapie Group). For the tax administration, the money paid to GBT should be taxed as corporate tax (33.3%), but the Tapie camp demanded the application of the much more favorable regime of capital gains (1.67%). Finally, in a letter of April 2, 2009, the cabinet of the Minister of the Budget, Eric Woerth, had decided to tax two thirds of the compensation at 1.67% and one third at 33.3%.
In 2016, the Paris prosecutor’s office had opened a judicial investigation for “concussion”, that is to say the granting of an undue advantage following a letter from the Attorney General to the Court of Auditors, Gilles Johanet, transmitted to Bercy then to justice. In this letter, the senior official accused Eric Woerth of having offered Tapie a “tax exemption” ranging between 61 and 82 million euros, compared to the scenario envisaged by the tax authorities.
“It will end in a non-place”
In 2019, François Molins, Attorney General at the Court of Cassation, appealed to the investigative committee of the CJR after receiving a favorable opinion from the requests committee on the opening of an investigation into the former minister of Francois Fillon. This a few weeks before the release from which Bernard Tapie had benefited in his criminal trial for suspicion of “fraud” under this agreement. The case has since been tried on appeal and the decision reserved in October.
Contacted, Me Jean-Yves Leborgne, Eric Woerth’s lawyer, believes that it is a “purely technical element”. “I can understand that the CJR needs the necessary elements, because it is a complex file, but we will show that no favors were done to Mr. Tapie by Mr. Woerth. It will end in a dismissal. “Eric Woerth had already been the subject of an investigation by the Court of Justice of the Republic concerning the controversial sale of the Compiègne racecourse (Oise) in 2010. Suspected of” illegal taking of interests “, he had obtained a dismissal at the end of 2014.