Corruption of GIS: a convicted person, an acquitted

JusticeQuatre years after the scandal that has hit the wind at Geneva
the procedure comes to an end with a ruling this summer.

Corruption aux SIG: un condamné, un acquitté

The verdict comes four years after the beginning of the procedure, carried out efficiently, that has shaken the employees of the GIS.

The file of corruption in the GIS is nearing its end after four years of proceedings and controversy. Force is to note that with the time, expenses have melted, other facts have even disappeared completely. However, even a conviction to a monetary penalty with reprieve.

After two trials, in 2016 and 2017, the case had to be judged once again, this summer, on the orders of the federal Court (TF), in January. The TF was not convinced by the reasoning made in 2017 by the criminal Chamber of appeal and review (CPAR). The judges of the district, who had condemned P., a former executive of SGIS, and Z., an entrepreneur from ticino, active in the wind energy, come to reconsider their copy in a judgment of 27 August, that we have consulted.

Result: P. is acquitted in a pane of the case but sentenced in another for passive corruption. It bails out at the end of 300 days-fine with a suspension. His lawyer, mr. Olivier Wasmer, writes in the guidelines that the mountain has given birth to a mouse. About the entrepreneur of Lugano, it is an acquittal. It will touch more than 150 000 francs from the State as compensation, and support of attorneys ‘ fees. His advocate, Me Alexandre de Weck, is satisfied: “I’ve never doubted the innocence of my client. And I am very happy that it has now also been recognised by the judges of the Court of justice.”

As the public prosecutor, he takes note of the decision of the Court. Remember that in 2017, the CPAR had sanctioned this duo: P. and Z. had been sentenced to two years suspended prison sentence. In the first instance, P. had been sentenced to 360 day-fines, with probation. As for Z, he had been acquitted before being convicted on appeal last year, to 300 days-fine with a suspension.

A nice gift

The entrepreneur from ticino, was accused of having paid 180 000 francs to the wife of P. The latter was working for him. This sum, he said, was intended to pay for a book she had written: “These pioneers, the swiss wind energy”. A book which, according to the expertise required by the first prosecutor Stéphane Grodecki, was not worth a nail. In the eyes of the public Ministry, the payment of this book largely plagiarized, masked an act of corruption. Z. was a nice gift to a former manager who had always favored his company.

In 2017, the CPAR had the same reasoning in finding that P. was to be sentenced for acceptance of an undue advantage”, namely, to have accepted that his wife be paid for writing a book of convenience.

Acquitted in the first instance, the boss of the company from ticino who had ordered and bought this book was punished in the appeal, by 2017, to “granting of an advantage”.
The CPAR was considered that the compensation awarded to the wife has been set at a level that is disconcerting “in appreciation of an activity consistent with the duties of his office”. It is on this aspect that the TF has repudiated the justice of the canton. “The assertion that such compensation would have been for the purpose of to thank P. its benefits in the past or future (…) is not based on any fact found by the judgment.”

After thinking “dictation” by the TF, the CPAR reviewed the reasoning of this component falls in the water. The Court judge today that Z has well and truly paid 180 000 francs to P. to thank him after the conclusion of the contracts with the GIS. The money was paid after P. had left the company, the Court noted that he was no longer a public official and could therefore no longer be guilty of acceptance of an advantage. And the defence to assert that “the activity of P., was consistent with the duties of his office”.

For the second part, the ex-employee of SIG does not cut to a conviction for passive bribery. He had tried in 2010 to get 100 000 swiss company from the valais, active in the wind. In exchange, he had promised not to fail a partnership between the company and SGI.

On this pane, the TF found no fault with the reasoning of the CPAR. It is for this part of the case that P. has thus been sentenced, this summer, for passive corruption. Noting a lack of cooperation of the accused during the investigation and his lack of awareness of the reprehensible nature of its acts, the judges, in the judgment of 27 August, say that”he has behaved as a provider of private business considering that he was entitled to a form of commission for services rendered, ignoring his status as an employee of the public service. (…) It has damaged the community’s confidence in the objectivity of the action of the State. (…) Only the lure of an easy gain is the motive of his acts.”

Defense satisfied

Me Wasmer said that he was also satisfied: “My client had a claim for a compensatory amount of chf 100,000, which was annulled by the Court, expenses of close to 100 000 swiss francs, which have been reduced to a little more than 10 000 swiss francs. His conviction and sentence to two years in prison has been cancelled by the Court, which has pronounced as day-fines against the company.” Finally, at the time of the facts, in 2014, the lawyer had filed a complaint against persons unknown for false testimony. A complaint classified this summer by the public Prosecutor. “We have challenged this classification before the criminal Chamber because the prosecution refuses to investigate.”

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