Appeal earns Elf's 'Mr Africa' longer jail term

31st March 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 31 (AFP) - Andre Tarallo, one of the main defendants in the2003 embezzlement trial of executives at the oil group Elf, was sentenced to seven years in prison by the Paris appeal court Thursday.

PARIS, March 31 (AFP) - Andre Tarallo, one of the main defendants in the2003 embezzlement trial of executives at the oil group Elf, was sentenced to seven years in prison by the Paris appeal court Thursday.

Tarallo, who was known as the company's ‘Mr Africa’, was originally given four years in jail but the state prosecutor appealed against the sentence, saying it was too lenient.

Aged 77 and in ill health, Tarallo served only a few weeks of the jail term and was too ill to attend last year's appeal.

Of the two other main defendants at the trial, Elf's former President Loik Le Floch-Prigent is at liberty after serving part of a five-year term - he was not involved in the appeal - and his deputy Alfred Sirven died in February.

Tarallo, Le Floch-Prigent and Sirven were found guilty of personally profitting from billions of francs in an Elf slush-fund which was set up to buy influence around the world in the early 1990s.

A total of 30 people were convicted in the original trial, and in addition to Sirven and Tarallo, 13 others were involved in the appeal.

Another key defendant, Andre Guelfi, was jailed for 18 months and handed a suspended sentence of another 18 months by the appeal court. In the original trial, Guelfi's entire three-year sentence was suspended.

His attorney Pierre-Olivier Sur said he would take his case to the Cour de Cassation, France's highest appellate court.

While the Paris appeal court put an official end to the criminal proceedings involving the deceased Sirven, his heirs can still be pursued in civil court for damages.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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