Former managing director of the Centre Pompidou pleads guilty to misuse of public funds

Agnès Saal opts for the Paris métro nowadays. Photo: Marianne
Agnès Saal, the former managing director of the Centre Pompidou and the former director of France’s Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (INA, National Audiovisual Insitute), will plead guilty to charges of misuse of public funds during her time at the two institutions, the AFP reports.

Saal became a symbol for high-level civil servants abusing the system after Le Figaro reported, in April 2015, that she had spent €40,000 on taxis in a period of ten months (including €6,700 spent by her son) when she was the director of the INA. She stepped down from that position in April 2015 at the request of the minister of culture, and last January, president François Hollande banned her from civil service for six months without pay, followed by an 18-month suspension.

In pleading guilty, Saal will avoid a public trial, although the state prosecutor’s sentence must be approved by the courts during a public audience. Two hearings to confirm sentencing will be held on 11 April at the high court of Créteil, a Paris suburb, over the €40,000 Saal spent as the director of the INA, and on 15 April in Paris over €38,000 in taxi bills from January 2013 to April 2014, when Saal was at the Centre Pompidou.

Jérôme Karsenti, the lawyer representing Anticor—the anti-corruption group whose legal complaint against Saal preceded the investigations into her spending—expressed his disappointment to the AFP, saying: “This affair merited a true public audience on the use of public funds by certain high-level state employees.”



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Replacing the ubiquitous carpet at Frieze 2016 will cost booths thousands. Photo © Graham Carlow, courtesy Graham Carlow/Frieze
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