France, ‘they offered bribes to an Italian entrepreneur to win the tenders: two executives from Otv (Veolia) indicted’

France, ‘they offered bribes to an Italian entrepreneur to win the tenders: two executives from Otv (Veolia) indicted’
France, ‘they offered bribes to an Italian entrepreneur to win the tenders: two executives from Otv (Veolia) indicted’

They had attempted to bribe with wads of millions of euros the Italian company that competed with them on gods mega contracts for the water treatment in French cities. Thus, according to the information gathered by Mediapart, Patrick Barbalat e Didier Le Tallec, respectively former deputy general manager and regional director of Otv, linked to the multinational Veolia, were indicted by the investigating judge Nicolas Aubertin, which is carrying out an investigation for corruption within the public sanitation company in Ile-de-France, siaap. Even the lawyer Dominique Paillé, former Deputy Secretary General then spokesman forUmp, the former party of Nicolas sarkozy, between 2007 and 2011 and who at the material time presented himself as a representative of Siaap, appears to be “Witness witness” (a position between witness and accused, status which may change during the course of the investigation).

According to the indictment, the one set up by the senior executives of the leading companies in the sector is a real one “Cartel that cancels the competition” limiting access to these important contracts to other realities, both national and foreign, who want to try to enter the public procurement business in the water treatment sector. A real system emerged, as also told by FQ Millennium in a 2019 investigation, from the testimony and recordings made by the Italian entrepreneur Marco Schiavio, owner of the Italian company Passavant that he had managed to participate in those tenders, also presenting the best offer on more than one occasion but without ever winning the tender. Outcomes that had led him to appeal without these ever being accepted.

In the months when the calls were still open, Schiavio received numerous pressures and economic offers, as evidenced by the registrations that he himself presented to the French prosecutors, to disproportionately increase his economic offer, so as to favor the victory of the competition of the giants of the sector. Proposals always returned to the sender. One of these, the one presented to him on March 4, 2015 at the Méridien hotel in Paris, has become the subject of investigation. During that meeting, not the first of its kind, Barbalat and Le Tallec had proposed to him avoid recourse in exchange for the payment of all ancillary costs, including notices and lawyers. In addition, they also offer him the possibility of entering a export turnover “From 20-25 million a year” in case he decides not to participate in another race that has ended up in the crosshairs of the big names in the sector. All offers rejected.

Before the judges, the two defendants did not deny having proposed the solutions contained in the recordings to Schiavio, but argue that this was only a tactic to put the Italian businessman in check, accusing him of having presented himself to the OTV executives. in an attempt to extort money in exchange for his withdrawal. “We just wanted to understand his intentions – they declared – and we staged a fiction”. At the same time, however, the two executives were unable to provide any evidence on the safeguards and precautions they should have taken before going to Schiavio to present what is an illegal offer. “It was something exceptional”, Barbalat justified himself.

According to the Italian’s account, before the offer of March 2015 Schiavio had already received a similar proposal from the OTV top management. On 15 January 2014 it was Patrick Barbalat, in the hotel Les Jardins de la Villa in the French capital, who offered him “one million euros to increase my offer (for the tender, ed) from at least 100 million euros“, So as to encourage competition. “My arms fell off, I was so amazed – explained the Italian entrepreneur – I would have been less surprised if this proposal had been made in the Central African Republic. But I didn’t expect it at all in Paris ”. One of Marco Schiavio’s partners, Andrea Lasagni, present during the meeting, confirmed it. Even in this case, however, Barbalat claims that the request for money came from the Italian businessman.

As regards the role played by Dominique Paillé, who in the past had also been a consultant to Passavant, the judges are analyzing the contents of another recording, this time by telephone, of a conversation between the lawyer and Schiavio in April 2016. On that occasion, Paillé said he was mobilized by the same public body that should judge the fairness and transparency of the tender, the Siaap in fact. In exchange offered yet another bribe not to submit any offer for the tender regarding the decanting of Seine Aval Acheres: 1 million and 350 thousand euros.

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