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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: UIMM : le parquet ouvre enfin une information judiciaire

by T.L.

Published in l'Humanité on 5 December 2007

Judicial Inquiry Finally Called for Metalworkers’ Federation

Translated Sunday 23 December 2007, by JD Moore

Denis Gautier-Sauvagnac, once the second-in-command at MEDEF (the French employer’s association) will soon have to defend himself against allegations of abuse of public trust and sharp practices. So far he has done little to throw any light on the matter, referring frequently to "the regulation of social relations."

Denis Gautier-Sauvagnac, once the second-in-command at MEDEF (the French employer’s association) will soon have to defend himself against allegations of abuse of public trust and sharp practices. So far he has done little to throw any light on the matter, referring frequently to "the regulation of social relations."

Denis Gautier-Sauvagnac commands respect in his capacity as UIMM (Union des Industries et de la Métallurgie) delegate, a position he took up upon his resignation from MEDEF after years of service. His two day custody period came as a shock given his high standing. After his release, Rachida Dati pledged the opening of a judicial inquiry "within a few weeks."

A couple of months later, the judicial inquiry has begun, following an announcement by prosecutor Jean-Claude Marin trailed in various press outlets. The case has been passed to the prosecutor in Paris by TRACFIN, the anti-laundering section of the finance ministry.

The examining magistrate dealing with the case referred to Denis Gautier-Sauvagnac by name, citing him for ‘abuse of trust’. An associate of his with whom he worked closely has also been called to answer to charges of ‘complicity, benefiting from abuse of trust and the destruction of evidence’ following the disappearance of part of the organisation’s accounting records. The inquiry will also consider ‘other interested parties’ in relation to the charge of benefiting from abuse of trust and the concealment of certain actions with a view to ascertaining the identity of the recipients of the stolen money.

Until now, Denis Gautier-Sauvagnac has refused to explain the regular cash withdrawals he has made which amount to 26 million euros as calculated by the Fraud Squad. At the end of his two day custody period Mr. Gautier-Sauvagnac’s lawyer Jean-Yves Leborgne trotted out familiar excuses along the lines of ‘regulation of social relations’, a veiled reference to trade union organisations. “The UIMM has never given anything to the managers of these organisations, only to their representatives,” he said in ‘Le Parisien’ magazine, before letting it slip that Denis Gautier-Sauvagnac couldn’t remember “how much he has given nor to whom.”

Compounding the allegations sullying the reputations of trade union organisations over the past few months, the Fraud Squad has clarified the nature and amount of cash taken from the UIMM coffers. It is apparently linked to undeclared salary or pension ‘bonuses’ paid in cash to specific individuals within the organisation. The judicial inquiry states that this kind of financial transaction is the basis for the pursuit of uncovering ‘concealed actions’. Stories about the funding of certain delegates and targeted corruption had already been circulated and the allegations carefully examined prior to the opening of the inquiry, but are only now being confirmed. The Counsel’s office has also let it be known that the political situation is being taken into account given that substantial sums of money were withdrawn around the time of legislative and presidential elections in 2002 and 2007.


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