French mayor Rene Marratier jailed for role in deadly flood

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Former mayor of La Faute-sur-Mer Rene Marratier is pictured at the congress centre of Les-Sables-d'Olonne in western France, 12 December 2014Image source, AFP
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Rene Marratier said he would appeal against the verdict

The former mayor of a French seaside town has been sentenced to jail for four years for ignoring flood risks before a storm that killed 29 people.

Rene Marratier hid the risks to La Faute-sur-Mer to avoid putting off property developers, the court said.

The storm Xynthia hit western Europe in early 2010. The storm knocked down seawalls in La Faute-sur-Mer, leading to severe flooding.

Marratier called the verdict "unjust" and said he would appeal.

On Friday, the court said that Marratier knew La Faute-sur-Mer, a west coast resort in the Pays de la Loire region, was at risk of flooding.

However, he "deliberately hid" the risk so that he could benefit from the "cash-cow" of property development, the court added.

Marratier's deputy was jailed for two years.

Xynthia swept through Spain, Portugal and France in February 2010, killing at least 50 people in western Europe.