Justice confirms on appeal the ineligibility of the former mayor of Toulon Hubert Falco

It is a decision which puts an end to his career and already launches the battle for his succession

Justice confirms on appeal the ineligibility of the former mayor of Toulon Hubert Falco

It is a decision which puts an end to his career and already launches the battle for his succession. The former Var baron, Hubert Falco, support of Emmanuel Macron, was sentenced on appeal, Tuesday May 14, to five years of ineligibility for breaches of his integrity as an elected official. Aged 76, the former mayor of Toulon, who “gambled his life” in this case, according to his lawyer, did not attend the sentencing by the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal .

The court certainly halved the suspended prison sentence that had been imposed on him, bringing it to eighteen months, compared to three years at first instance, but it confirmed the five-year ineligibility sentence for meals and dry cleaning costs paid unduly by a community, the Var departmental council, which he no longer headed. On the ineligibility, the justice once again pronounced a provisional execution. This penalty therefore remains applicable immediately.

It was this provision which, a little over a year ago, created the first thunderbolt. After the first instance judgment, Mr. Falco, who was part of the Les Républicains party before moving to the Macronist camp, then lost his mandates as mayor of Toulon and president of his metropolis.

The court of appeal also imposed a fine of 30,000 euros on him, but the Var departmental council will not be compensated for the damage suffered, because he never filed a civil suit. For General Counsel Régine Roux, Mr. Falco clearly failed in “his duty of probity”.

Appeal to the Court of Cassation

Justice condemned him for having continued to have free lunch for years in the cafeteria of the Var departmental council, even though he had no longer been president since 2002. But also for having benefited from meals at home, prepared by the community kitchens and served by two butlers employed by the department, and dry cleaning costs, again at the taxpayer's expense.

This embezzlement was estimated in total at more than 60,000 euros for the period from 2015 to 2018 alone. The affair went down in history as that of the “Falco fridge”, the meals being stored in a refrigerator reserved for this effect.

This conviction on appeal therefore removes the possibility that he will relaunch during the 2026 municipal elections where the far right, very established in the Var, is in ambush. His lawyer, Mr. Thierry Fradet, however announced an appeal to the Court of Cassation to defend his client's "honor".

He opportunely clarified that this appeal “should last approximately one year”. And added: “We will be definitively settled at the outcome of this appeal on which we have great hope. » One year before the local election. Hubert Falco won Toulon from the far right in 2001. Since then, he has reigned uncontested, re-elected three times in the first round.

“The beginning of an era of transparency”

In Toulon, reactions quickly began to pour in after this decision which clearly launched the succession battle. “The city has not been run for a year, the people who run it only present themselves as temporary workers,” Amaury Navarranne, leader of the municipal opposition of the National Rally, thundered to Agence France-Presse , which calls for an immediate “return to the polls” to clarify the situation.

But the mayor, Josée Massi, who took over from Hubert Falco a little over a year ago, assured in a press release that she would complete this mandate and “determinedly prepare for the 2026 deadline. ". Ms. Massi paid tribute to a “great mayor with a rare political career” and on

Laure Lavalette, MP for Var and high-profile spokesperson for the RN group in the National Assembly, promised in a press release to the people of Toulon to “take all [her] part in the necessary overhaul of our beautiful city”. “This new judicial confirmation must mark the beginning of an era of transparency and exemplarity in Toulon,” reacted opposition municipal councilor Cécile Muschotti, former La République en marche MP.