Tours, France: A corruption trial over fake Chinese wedding trips in France ended on Thursday with a 30-month jail sentence for a former French official.
Lise Han, originally from Taiwan, was sentenced after being found guilty of fraud and mishandling public funds by a court in the central city of Tours.
The court heard earlier that while she was working at City Hall on tourism issues, she was also running a private company organising the so-called wedding trips between 2007 and 2011.
The trips did not include a real ceremony but Chinese couples travelled long distances and paid large sums for what were billed as “romantic wedding” packages and were photographed in wedding attire in stunning locations, including the Tours City Hall.
Although Han had officially resigned from her job as head of the organising group, Time/Lotus Bleu, she was accused of continuing to run the firm while at City Hall, which was in turn subcontracting the work to her firm, netting hundreds of thousands of euros.
The sentencing came after another accused in the case, a former mayor of Tours, committed suicide.
Jean Germain, a close ally of President Francois Hollande, was found dead in the garage next to his house just moments before the trial was due to begin in April 2015, having shot himself with a hunting rifle.
The 67-year-old ex-mayor had been due to stand trial for alleged complicity. Han was a member of his staff.
Han’s husband were also convicted in the case, as were two other former city officials.
Those found guilty have been ordered to jointly compensate the city of Tours to the tune of 500,000 euros ($550,000), as well as pay 30,000 euros in damages for the stain on the city’s image.