Sonia Rolland has been indicted Monday, May 30 in the “ill-gotten property” case for “concealment of embezzlement of public funds, corruption and abuse of corporate assets”, reveals Le Parisien. As a reminder, an indictment does not prejudge the guilt or not of the person concerned: it is, in the context of a criminal case, a measure taken by an investigating judge which allows him to further investigate the person suspected of being involved in the offense under investigation. Already heard in 2021 by the investigators, she then explained “not being able to refuse such a gift”.
Why is Sonia Rolland worried about justice?
The former Miss France had indeed received as a gift an apartment in the 16th arrondissement of Paris in 2003 by the late Gabonese president, Omar Bongo. However, an investigation opened in 2008 on the acquisition of the real estate assets of the former Head of State brought to light a fraudulent financing circuit. Between 1990 and 2009, Omar Bongo allegedly illegally acquired a twenty properties in France, building a heritage of 40 million euros now owned by his 54 children. Justice therefore considers that the former beauty queen should have known the fraudulent mode of acquisition of the apartment which was offered to her, which she defends herself against.
What is the relationship between Sonia Rolland and Omar Bongo?
After her coronation in 2000, Sonia Rolland says she was contacted by several African countries, including Gabon, to participate in the creation of Miss Africa competitions. It was on this occasion, she says, that she met Edith Bongo with whom she forged a friendly relationship, then later the late President Omar Bongo. During a dinner in 2002, Edith Bongo said she wanted to give her a gift to thank her, without specifying the nature. A year later, Sonia Rolland was contacted by a Parisian notary who told her that she had just receive funds to finance an apartment available in 2006.
However, this financing came from a French decoration company, which had a subsidiary in Gabon “holding an account in a local bank, on which suitcases of cash have been deposited for yearsdelivered by Bongo employees”, specifies Liberation.
What does Sonia Rolland say in her defense?
Sonia Rolland was heard in 2021 by an investigator from the central office for the repression of serious financial crime (OCRGDF). She asserts not knowing how the apartment was financed and never having been aware of the financial arrangement.
“We must beware of judging with today’s knowledge of the facts of 2003, declared his lawyer, Me Charles Morel. My client was 22 years old, she was coming out of a period where she was projected into a universe of which she knew nothing. She explained in detail about the conditions for obtaining this gift that she did not request. She admits to having been naive, but disputes any infringement“.
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