The electricity giant EDF and its former CEO Henri Proglio as well as twelve other people are on trial from Tuesday in Paris for suspicion of favoritism around consultant contracts between 2010 and 2016. During this trial which is due to begin at 1:30 p.m. and last two weeks will appear the one who was boss of EDF between 2009 and 2014, aged 74, the public company represented by one of its executives, the former secretary general Alain Tchernonog, as well as eleven consultants. The first day will be devoted to procedural debates. Henri Proglio could be questioned as early as Wednesday.

During the investigation opened in 2016 by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), 44 disputed contracts were identified for a total of approximately 22 million euros, all concluded without any competitive bidding. Communicators, former business leaders, politicians, magistrates, lawyers and journalists… have signed up for consulting missions in communications, strategic consulting, risk management, intelligence or lobbying, associated with amounts ranging from 40,000 to four million euros over several years. For the PNF, these contracts should not have been concluded over the counter and should have been the subject of competitive bidding: none of the exemptions provided for by the regulations could apply to these markets.

Henri Proglio, who faces two years of imprisonment and a 200,000 euro fine for favoritism, is “innocent of the facts with which he is accused”, declared to AFP Messrs Jean-Pierre Mignard and Pierre-Emmanuel Blard, who will plead relaxes her. The PNF decided not to pursue consultants who had benefited from contracts below the “formalized procedure” threshold (around 400,000 euros at the time). This concerns in particular the former minister Claude Allègre and the former secretary of state Jeannette Bougrab, who benefited from a classification without further action. Among those affected by higher amounts, six have already been sentenced to fines via guilty plea procedures (CRPC): this is notably the case of the founder of Havas Stéphane Fouks (165,500 euros) and the communications company Image 7 by Anne Méaux (150,000 euros).

Ultimately, eleven former consultants were cited in court, either directly or via their company, for concealment of favoritism. During the investigation, all denied having committed an offense. The company of former Vivendi CEO Jean-Marie Messier, 67, is on trial for two contracts in 2011-2012 representing 1.42 million euros, after being refused a guilty plea. Loïk Le Floch-Prigent, 80, former boss of GDF and SNCF, is being prosecuted for contracts totaling 1.36 million euros between 2010 and 2015, and criminologist Alain Bauer for 650,000 euros between 2013 and 2016.