The administrative court of appeal confirmed the annulment by the Paris administrative court of the approval of the Anticor association, Thursday November 16. Since 2015, this approval has allowed the anti-corruption association to take legal action in cases of alleged corruption and breach of integrity, particularly in the event of inaction by the prosecution.
“This decision once again confirms that the Anticor association is the victim of the erroneous wording of the decree signed by Jean Castex in 2021”lamented the NGO in a message published on. And this, “while the services of the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, confirmed that Anticor fulfilled the conditions for granting approval”wrote the NGO. “It’s really nonsense, it’s a completely ludicrous situation”, reacted to Agence France-Presse, the president of the association, Elise Van Beneden. The association does not rule out a new appeal before the Council of State.
The judgment rendered on appeal confirms that of the Paris administrative court which, in June, had annulled a decree signed in April 2021 by the then Prime Minister, Jean Castex, renewing for three years the approval granted to Anticor. A “period of extremely serious legal uncertainty” then opened for Anticor, in the words of his lawyer, Vincent Brengarth.
Involvement in some 160 cases
The decision taken at first instance arises from an appeal filed by a former member excluded from the association in 2020 and another member. The applicants had asked the court to annul the order of April 2, 2021 renewing the approval, calling into question the “selfless and independent character” activities of the association, “appreciated in view of the origin of its resources”.
The association then submitted a request for new approval to the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne, and requested the suspension of the immediate effects of the ban. This retroactive cancellation of the approval makes it difficult to initiate new proceedings and the presence of the association will be called into question in cases where the association had become a civil party after April 2021.
Created in 2002, Anticor is involved in more than 160 procedures including the awarding of the Football World Cup to Qatar, the investigation for illegal acquisition of interests targeting the secretary general of the Elysée, Alexis Kohler, or that against Eric Dupond- Moretti before the Court of Justice of the Republic, reason why the renewal was signed by Jean Castex and not by the Minister of Justice currently in office.
Complaints from Anticor led to proceedings concerning the sale of Alstom’s energy branch to General Electric and a preliminary investigation into the Russian contracts of Alexandre Benalla, the former advisor to the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron.
In June 2021, two dissidents from Anticor took legal action, considering the procedure for renewing the approval irregular and judging that the association did not meet the required conditions: independent and disinterested activities, information for members on management, etc.
In its judgment, the court notes that Jean Castex himself had mentioned certain elements in the contested judgment “and in particular the lack of transparency regarding a substantial donation” made by a person at the association, “of a nature to give rise to doubt about the disinterested and independent nature of the past activities of the association”. ” It does not appear (…) that the consequences of the cancellation of the renewal of approval have manifestly excessive consequences”concluded the court.
Without approval, it will nevertheless be very difficult for Anticor to initiate new proceedings and its presence will be called into question in cases where the association had become a civil party after April 2021.
Gn Fr France