AMMAN: A former adviser to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was convicted on Friday of tax fraud and money laundering after being caught trying to take hundreds of thousands of euros in cash out of France.
Boris Boillon, 47, was given a one-year suspended prison sentence and barred from holding public office for five years. Customs officers stopped Boillon at Paris’s Gare du Nord railway station in July 2013 with luggage stuffed with 350,000 euros ($400,000) and $40,000 in undeclared cash as he was about to board a train for Belgium.
The court on Friday ordered the seizure of the funds and the payment of a customs fine of 95,036 euros as well as the payment of 30,000 euros to the French government for tax fraud. Boillon, who was Sarkozy’s ambassador to Iraq from 2009 to 2011, was also convicted of failure to declare a financial transfer within the European Union exceeding 10,000 euros.
The ex-diplomat claimed to have made the money working as a middleman for an Iraqi company, mainly for a public works project. He blamed Iraq’s deficient banking system for the need to carry cash.