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Corsica.  The former director of the Chamber of Agriculture at the heart of a trial for fraud

Judged with his relatives for alleged fraud in European aid of a total of 1.4 million euros, the former director of the Chamber of Agriculture of Corse-du-Sud denied Wednesday before the court of Ajaccio to be the de facto leader of the five family farms at the heart of the case.

Judged for “fraud” and “aggravated money laundering”

Jean-Dominique Rossi, his wife, his two sons and a certain Augustin Gardella, presented by the prosecution as a farm worker but absent due to Covid-19, are on trial until Thursday for “fraud” and “aggravated money laundering”, all committed “in an organized gang”, between 1er January 2015 and November 20, 2019.

Fraud based, according to the prosecution, on the fictitious division of a farm into five, the swelling of the herd as well as the fictitious births and deaths of animals in order to multiply European agricultural aid.

“I was asked for advice”

For the prosecution, Jean-Dominique Rossi was indeed the de facto operator of all the family farms, which was however prohibited to him because of his position at the Chamber of Agriculture. The proof would be the documents of the various farms found in his office in the chamber, specified the president.

“I was an agricultural adviser. I was asked for advice, ”defended Jean-Dominique Rossi.

Another accusing element, pointed out by the magistrate: the email address of each of these farms, including that of Augustin Gardella, was that of Jean-Dominique Rossi.

A computer for the whole family

The family, who lived in several apartments in one house, only had one computer and one email address, Rossi. “My sons used my email address,” confirmed his Jean-Dominique Rossi.

A few days after the check, the email address is however suddenly changed, for each of the operations, and this from the IP address of Jean-Dominique Rossi. “The day after the check, we do not regularize, we hide”, asserts the president.

Two real estate projects in the name of his mother

Asked about his relationship with his two sons, Jean-Dominique Rossi describes them as “rather good”: “In work, I don’t intervene. If they want advice, I give it to them, of course, as a father and as an agricultural adviser”.

Looking into the money laundering charges, the president questions Jean-Dominique Rossi on “two substantial real estate projects, unrelated to agriculture”: a program of “six bungalows in Sagone” and another of “48 housing units in Cargèse, in the name of Angèle Rossi”, the mother of Jean-Dominique Rossi.

At 85, his mother wanted to “prepare for his retirement and his succession”

Initially prosecuted for the same counts, she died in December 2021 and the proceedings were therefore extinguished against her. “My mother filed this permit. She got it, ”replies Jean-Dominique Rossi, specifying that ultimately this project never came to fruition.

“She did it alone, at 85, without anyone’s help? asks the president. “She had all her head”, confirms Jean-Dominique Rossi, specifying that she “wanted to prepare for her retirement and her succession”.

Six bungalows, each earning 1,000 euros per week

Regarding the bungalows of Sagone, a seaside town in Corse-du-Sud, they would have brought in “1,000 euros per week and per bungalow” during the six months of the season, estimates the president.

“I have a salary, I am almost 60 years old, I have the right to invest for my retirement”, Jean-Dominique Rossi immediately defends himself, indicating that there too this project never materialized.

The argument of M.and François Voiron, lawyer for the Service and Payment Agency (ASP), responsible for paying European aid to farmers and civil party in this case, is expected on Wednesday afternoon, before the prosecutor’s requisitions.