The Grenoble public prosecutor’s office ordered the opening of a preliminary investigation for « embezzlement of property by a person in charge of a public service mission ». The investigations relate to presumptions of irregularities committed by the president of the Metro, Christophe Ferrari.
Service car used during periods of leave, personal lunches at the expense of the community… The file sent to justice by a former close friend of the president of Grenoble-Alpes Métropole includes a long list of documents. Electronic toll statements, reports, exchanges of emails, all pointing to possible irregularities committed by Christophe Ferrari (various left).
Starting with his service car with driver which he would have used for personal purposes, apart from his duties as president of the metropolitan executive. « I retraced, day by day, the movements of the president thanks to the electronic toll statements that I compared to his diary. This is where I learned of journeys made during his vacation when he had nothing to do with his service vehicle »recounts Pascal Harder, the former chief of staff of Christophe Ferrari.
For several months, he gathered elements demonstrating the practices deemed abusive by the president of the Grenoble metropolis. A file – the first elements of which date back to 2014 – which he sent to justice on September 16.
The Grenoble prosecutor’s office indicated to France 3 Alpes, Wednesday, October 5, to have opened a preliminary investigation for « embezzlement of property by person depositary or responsible for a public service mission », confirming information from the newspaper The Postillion.
The investigations carried out by the Grenoble judicial police service concern, first and foremost, the presumed personal use of Christophe Ferrari’s service vehicle. The overtime statements of the driver of the president of the Metro attest to this. Sometimes 42 hours, 59, and even up to 85 overtime hours in a month.
“These readings questionbelieves Pascal Harder. There were regularly schedules that were not explainable. » Night hours, in particular, which exceed « almost always » the legal threshold of 25 hours of overtime per month. Consequently, the driver receives a remuneration « significantly higher » than any other agent of the metropolis, according to the former chief of staff.
In addition to these supposed excesses during the week, Christophe Ferrari would have used his service vehicle on numerous occasions during weekends or during periods of leave. His car is not geolocated – unlike other service cars in the city – the file is based on electronic toll statements and fuel bills.
The total toll charges for the metropolitan president’s personal journeys would amount to more than 2 400 euros, according to the calculations of Pascal Harder. “Thanks to my expertise, I can distinguish the personal journeys of the president from those made within the framework of his mandate”says the former chief of staff, formerly in charge of the president’s agenda.
I am aware that the misuse of company cars is frequent, but that is not normal.Pascal Harder, former chief of staff of Christophe Ferrari
in France 3 Alps
These same statements highlight trips to Toulouse, Dordogne or Montpellier, well outside the metropolitan area. Fines have even reached the headquarters of the metropolis for offenses committed in Italy with the vehicle of the president.
A first, dated September 2017, amounts to 102 euros for « access to the pedestrian zone ». The second, a fine of 450 euros dating back to January 2019, punishes « non-designation of the driver ». Fines that Christophe Ferrari would have paid himself.
It’s also « while the president was on leave », in April 2021, that he would have had an accident with his service car. The bill is 2 577 euros, paid by the insurance of the Metro, with 600 euros of deductible at the expense of the community.
« I am aware that the misuse of service cars is frequent, but that’s not normal. », recognize Pascal Harder who relies on other elements. The former chief of staff has listed, since the end of 2020, restaurant bills reimbursed by the metropolis to Christophe Ferrari while these lunches and dinners would be « unrelated to the interests of the community ». The total score is 2 284 euros.
This report against Christophe Ferrari is not the first. Yann Mongaburu, close to the ecologist mayor of Grenoble Eric Piolle and great rival of Christophe Ferrari for the presidency of the metropolis during the last elections, had filed a similar report in December 2021.
This concerned the year 2018, already for irregular use of the president’s service car. The Grenoble public prosecutor’s office had not then initiated criminal proceedings for lack of sufficient evidence. « It was a unique fact denounced without justification in a context of strong political tensions »justifies the prosecutor of Grenoble, Eric Vaillant, who had then heard the two interested parties.
But it was while Pascal Harder was preparing for the hearing of Christophe Ferrari as part of this investigation, at the start of the year, that he discovered the first elements « disturbing » on the use of his company car. Elements that will agglomerate over time until they are transmitted to the parquet floor a few months later.
« Why is this money, the driver’s salary, the maintenance of the vehicle, invested for personal purposes? It should have been invested elsewhere »judges the former chief of staff who claims not to have « no political affiliation ».
The « embezzlement of property by a person holding or responsible for a public service mission » is punished ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of one million euros. According to our information, the group of Eric Piolle in the metropolis will ask for the resignation of the president in the coming days. Contacted by France 3 Alpes, Christophe Ferrari’s office indicated that a press release would be sent « shortly ».