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France: Macron ally investigated over financial misconduct

September 11, 2019

Minister and French National Assembly President Richard Ferrand was questioned on Wednesday over financial misconduct allegations. This comes as President Macron launches his ethical standards bill in parliament.

Richard Ferrand, president of the French National Assembly
Image: Getty Images/AFP/E. Feferberg

French National Assembly president and minister in President Emmanuel Macron's new government, Richard Ferrand, was questioned on Wednesday afternoon at a court in Lille over allegations of financial misconduct.

According to French regional daily La Voix du Nord, the investigation relates to Ferrand's time as director of medical insurance company Mutuelles de Bretagne. In 2011, he allegedly helped his partner illegally profit from a property deal. The insurance fund rented office space from her.

Repeating old claims

The allegations, which were brought by anti-corruption group Anticor, are said to be the same as those brought against Ferrand in 2017, launched after the group refiled its original complaint in a different local jurisdiction, according to an aide to Ferrand.

The complaint was based "on the same facts, without any new elements, and by the same plaintiff," the aide stated.

The previous investigation into the financial dealings of Ferrand was dropped in late 2017. Ferrand, who had denied any wrongdoing, resigned as minister while that probe was ongoing.

A history of allegations

French magazine Le Canard Enchaine last week raised concerns about Ferrand's hiring of his son as a parliamentary assistant in 2014. The minister dismissed this as minor work which did not last long.

Government spokesman Sibeth Ndiaye declined to comment during a weekly news conference on Wednesday when asked about the latest investigation.

Reuters contributed to this report

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Kommentarbild PROVISORISCH Elliot Douglas
Elliot Douglas Elliot Douglas is a video, audio and online journalist based in Berlin.