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the trial of the French businessman opens in Sierre

The trial of a French businessman whose bankruptcy left a hole of more than one hundred million francs opens Monday at the district court of Sierre. He is notably accused of breach of trust, fraudulent bankruptcy and forgery in titles.

The defendant, now 46, lived in Lens at the time of his bankruptcy in 2011. At that time, he had been in a financial dispute for several years already with the plaintiff, an English multi-billionaire, in particular the owner of the London football club Tottenham Spurs.

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It was he who filed sequestration requests with the Swiss courts in 2009 after finding that the defendant would not repay the loans granted between 2005 and 2007.

Unfolding of the facts

In 2005, this Englishman, residing in the Bahamas, wanted to invest in real estate in Eastern Europe. He seeks assistance on the spot and joins the defendant, installed in Romania and who works with his father, a former CEO of a large French cosmetics group. A partnership between the two men is signed and the Englishman undertakes to allocate 1 million dollars to finance investments.

Between 2005 and 2007, several projects were launched in Romania and Moldova for which seventeen investment companies were created. But in 2008, the plaintiff decided to withdraw from three Moldavian projects, in particular because of the less favorable real estate market conditions. He then requests reimbursement of the funds advanced for their acquisition. But the defendant will only return a very small part of the money to him on all the loans granted.

Despite several agreements and mediation, the complainant still does not see the color of the rest of his money. In the fall of 2009, he filed motions for sequestration with the District Court of Sierre and the Court of First Instance of Geneva. On October 6, 2009, the Office of Prosecutions and Bankruptcies of Sierre sent the defendant an order to pay for a debt of more than 105 million francs. Bankruptcy was declared in 2011.

Around 45 million euros

For his part, the defendant believes he owes nothing to his former partner, according to the indictment, consulted by Keystone-ATS. He systematically opposed the procedural acts aimed at sequestrating his assets.

According to the Valais prosecutor’s office, the examination of the defendant’s bank accounts confirms that the latter used part of the Briton’s funds, i.e. approximately 45 million euros, for “his personal needs, in particular to acquire luxury vehicles, boats , watches and jewelry.

The public prosecutor also notes that in order to harm his creditors and being fully aware of his insolvency, the defendant concealed his fleet of 28 luxury vehicles, which he then sold. He kept the money generated from these transactions for his own purposes.

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