Gérard Spinelli, the mayor of Beausoleil since 2008, has been given a one-year suspended prison sentence and a €150,000 fine for the misappropriation of public funds, which reportedly included a birthday party for his wife at the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco paid for by the taxpayer.
Last week, a court in Nice found Gérard Spinelli, the mayor of Beausoleil, the French commune that borders the Principality to the north, guilty of charges pertaining to the misappropriation of public funds.
The 69-year-old has been handed a €150,000 fine as well as a one-year suspended prison sentence for crimes including the “embezzlement of public funds by a person invested with an elective mandate… the organisation and financing of private activities by the town hall, the incurring of expenses for personal purposes and more generally the non-compliance with the rules of public procurement regarding food expenses”, according to the prosecutor in Nice.
In a communiqué sent out to the local media following his high-profile sentencing, Spinelli said, “Errors can be made.”
As printed by France 3 Côte d’Azur, Spinelli in his statement blamed a “lack of time, lack of staff” for these errors, adding that he had since “increased controls” to prevent any future incidents. He also claimed: “I have not benefited from any personal enrichment.”
In comments published by the Nice Matin on the topic of the controversial birthday party for Spinelli’s wife, which was held at the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco back in 2017, the mayor, who maintains his position, argued that the reality of the event had been manipulated by a “political opponent” to make it seem as though Spinelli had used public funds to pay for a birthday cake.
This is not the first time that the long-time mayor has been in front of the French courts. In 2017 and 2018, he was accused of “passive corruption” linked to the construction of the Tour Odéon, the vast 49-storey skyscraper that straddles the Principality of Monaco and Beausoleil. The case against Spinelli was eventually dismissed.
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Photo source: Irina Muller, Unsplash