In this case, the justice seeks to know if parliamentary collaborators were partly remunerated by the public funds of the European Parliament while they were assigned to other tasks for the party.
The affair which shortened the presence of the MoDem in the government of Édouard Philippe, leading to the resignation of three ministers from this movement, takes a new turn. This Wednesday, a judicial investigation for "breach of trust, concealment of breach of trust and fraud" was opened against X by the Paris prosecutor's office in the investigation into suspicions of fictitious jobs weighing on the party's European parliamentary assistants centrist. Justice seeks to know if parliamentary collaborators were partly remunerated by the public funds of the European Parliament whereas they were in reality assigned to other tasks for the MoDem.
» Read also – Understanding the affair of the parliamentary assistants of the MoDem
Justice seeks to know if parliamentary collaborators were partly remunerated by the public funds of the European Parliament whereas they were in reality assigned to other tasks for the MoDem. The magistrates will now be able to summon certain protagonists with a view to a possible indictment or placement under the intermediate status of assisted witness.
As a reminder, this case began in March after a report to the courts of Sophie Montel, elected from the National Front. LThe Paris prosecutor's office then opens a preliminary investigation for "breach of trust" targeting a total of twenty MEPs from all sides, including two from the MoDem. In June, the controversy rebounds: a former employee of the centrist party, Matthieu Lamarre, claims to have been partly paid as an assistant to MEP Jean-Luc Bennahmias, while he was working “only for the seat” in Paris. The prosecution then decides to open a specific investigation into the MoDem which sent six elected officials to the European Parliament between 2009 and 2014.
other suspected cases
The case of Matthieu Lamarre could not be isolated. The former MEP Corinne Lepage, breaking with the MoDem, thus affirmed in a book to have been asked to hire a permanent member of the party as a collaborator and to have refused. Several cases are at the heart of the investigations, in particular that of the former MEP Marielle de Sarnez. Isabelle Sicart and Karine Aouadj, two of her local parliamentary assistants, combined functions for the party: the first, part-time, as François Bayrou's chief of staff, and the second as the latter's private secretary.
In addition, the contracts and pay slips of six party officials, consulted by AFP, show that they were then seconded part-time as collaborators of MEPs, via an amendment to their contract. The practices denounced could be old. "We proposed in 2004 to Jean-Marie Cavada to hire a permanent employee, he refused", assures Corinne Lepage. According to her, “this system could have continued in 2014”.
François Bayrou denies
François Bayrou, who has always denied these accusations, denounced an operation "in order to discredit the person who carried the law" of moralization of public life. "We have never had fictitious jobs," assured the former Keeper of the Seals when he resigned on June 21, denouncing a political maneuver. At the end of June, he admitted all the same that the MoDem, then in a “bad patch”, had "relocated" some employees in Brussels.
To date, Jean-Luc Bennahmias, Matthieu Lamarre, Isabelle Sicart, Karine Aouadj and Corinne Lepage have already been interviewed at the anti-corruption office of the judicial police (Oclciff). The opening this Wednesday of a judicial investigation now makes it possible for certain protagonists to be summoned by the investigating judges with a view to a possible indictment or placement under the intermediate status of assisted witness.
Source: © Le Figaro Premium – Assistants to MoDem MEPs: the investigation entrusted to investigating judges