Mitterrand son on trial for tax fraud

3rd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 2 (AFP) - The prosecution Tuesday asked for a 20-month suspended jail sentence and EUR 30,000 (USD 38,000) fine for Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, son of late French president Francois Mitterrand, on trial here on tax fraud charges.

PARIS, Nov 2 (AFP) - The prosecution Tuesday asked for a 20-month suspended jail sentence and EUR 30,000 (USD 38,000) fine for Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, son of late French president Francois Mitterrand, on trial here on tax fraud charges.

Prosecutor Christine Forey also called for the reimbursement of some EUR 600,000 in taxes which the accused was alleged to have failed to pay during 1998 and 1999.

"The bad faith of Jean-Chistophe Mitterrand has been proved," she said: "He deliberately avoided tax commitments."

The accused earlier told the court that in the years in question he had been resident in Mauritania.

The verdict was set for next December 8.

The 58-year-old, who once served as his father's adviser on African affairs, is accused of non-payment of taxes on consultancy fees of EUR 3 million (USD 3.8 million) which he received between 1997 and 1999 from businessman Pierre Falcone.

The prosecutor rejected the defendant's claim that his tax domicile had been in Mauritania.

Mitterrand had earlier told the court that at the time in question he was trying to set up a fish-canning business in Mauritania. "I have nowhere to live in Paris. When I pass through, I have a room at my mother's," he said.

However the presiding judge noted that from bank and telephone records investigators had established that in 1999 Mitterrand was in France for 276 days. Travel documents showed he was in Mauritania for 53 days in 1998 and 32 days in 1999, the court was told.

The prosecutor said Mitterrand had been unable to give convincing proof of a tax domicile in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott, which meant that "the tax domicile in France is the only one applicable."

Mitterrand had told the court he owned a house in Mauritania and paid taxes there.

Mitterrand's trial was postponed twice after lawyers said he was suffering from psychological difficulties. He was treated recently in hospital for a sleep disorder and gave evidence in court from a chair.

Falcone is the leading suspect in a separate enquiry into illegal arms sales to Angola, in which Mitterrand is also under judicial investigation.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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