miscellaneous/Justice – Did the construction company Raffalli present false balance sheets to its competitor Rocca at the time of the takeover?

miscellaneous/Justice – Did the construction company Raffalli present false balance sheets to its competitor Rocca at the time of the takeover?
miscellaneous/Justice – Did the construction company Raffalli present false balance sheets to its competitor Rocca at the time of the takeover?

A long day of hearing – from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. – of debates. A long day of figures, of repetitions. Above all, a long day of disagreements.

Before the Ajaccio criminal court, François Raffalli37 years old, manager of the eponymous company, and his auditor, Fabrice Rabattu, 66 years old, deny having falsified the balance sheets, to undervalue the losses, of the public works company, bought by Patrick Rocca on December 28, 2017.

The public minister, represented by Valérie Marchand, is convinced of the fraud – which could amount to 800,000 euros – and requested suspended prison sentences of 8 and 10 months for the two defendants. Fines of 20,000 and 60,000 euros were also requested by the prosecution.

“More than four million injected in the first six months”

Patrick Rocca, as a civil party, assures, “than photography” of the company that was presented to him at the end of November 2017, did not correspond to what he discovered, once at the helm. If this company is making profits today, which makes the defense say that Patrick Rocca “made a deal”the latter confided to the court that he had to inject “more of four million euros in the first six months to pay debts”. His lawyer, Me Philippe Gatti, emphasizes that the Rocca holding company also bought the real estate of the Raffalli company, to replenish savings.

The debates could have focused on the technical elements of the case, perfectly mastered by all the parties, prosecution and court included.

But the context that surrounds the journey of these two entrepreneurs gave rise to bittersweet exchanges between each other, certainly in a form of respect.

While the insincerity of the accounts is not formally contested, the issue is to know whether a deliberate maneuver was put in place to deceive the buyer, or, more prosaically, whether the faults raised stem from a lack of skill.

But one event crystallized the debates: “Alert 3”. The expression accentuates the indigestion of a matter that is, to say the least, technical. It turns out to be fundamental, however.

“A society fluctuates, the figures are not exact”

On December 4, 2017, i.e. 24 days before the sale of the company, the auditor sent a registered letter to the Ajaccio commercial court which, in substance, indicated that the Raffalli company was in cessation of payments.

In such circumstances, no sale is possible without the intermediary of the commercial court. The legal procedure traces the mail, its reception by the court and even its content. However, as of December 2017, nothing stands in the way of the transaction.

For what ? The hearing did not provide an answer to this question. But this element is enough to clear Fabrice Rabattu, believes Mr. Pierre Bruno, lawyer for the auditor, at the end of an express but rigorous pleading, tinged with jokes intended to keep the attention of the court, given the lateness of the hour.

Me Julien Gasbaoui, counsel for Mr. Raffalli, argues that a “society fluctuates and that’s why the figures are never accurate”.

The numbers are indeed high. First, three million euros, the amount retained for the sale. An amount which has still not been paid in view of the current procedures. “Patrick Rocca will pay what he has to pay, whether it’s 3 million or less. We can accuse him of everything, but he never drove a nail”affirms his other counsel, Me Jean Luisi.

In 2018, several construction sites on the island, notably that of the Sanguinaires road in Ajaccio, were delayed or suspended due to this dispute which will reach its conclusion on June 28.

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