France: Two investigations into the financing of Emmanuel Macron in the 2017 and 2022 elections

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The French Prosecutors confirmed today that they opened two investigations in late October into the involvement of consulting firms in election campaigns of 2017 and 2022, after many complaints concerning President Emmanuel Macron and his relationship with the American company McKinsey.

The newspaper Le Parisien wrote today that the financial prosecutor is conducting a preliminary investigation into “favoritism” and illegal financing of his first campaign Macronin 2017. The prosecutor’s office confirmed that it had expanded the pre-existing investigation into tax evasion by McKinsey to include the role played by consulting firms in the two election campaigns, ’17 and ’22.

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During the last election campaign, a Senate report sparked a heated debate about the use of public funds in favor of these companies. And the opposition was calling for an investigation into alleged favoritism in favor of McKinsey by the Macron majority.

It is up to the judiciary to conduct these investigations in complete independence” commented the Elysee Palace after being “informed about the announcement” of the financial prosecution.

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On the occasion of the Le Parisien report entitled “MacKinsey case: Emmanuel Macron under investigation for illegal campaign financing“, the prosecutor’s office released a statement “to clarify” what criminal procedures are being followed after the Senate report and “numerous reports and complaints from elected officials and individuals.” According to this announcement, a preliminary investigation began on October 20 to determine whether there were irregularities in the campaign’s accounting. The next day a second investigation was launched into “favouritism” and “concealment of favouritism”.

A report by a Senate committee on the growing influence of private consulting firms in politics said that contracts signed by the state with such firms “more than doubled» between 2018-21, reaching a record €1 billion in 2021. The opposition immediately called for an investigation into the Macron majority’s relations with the McKinsey firm.

Macron’s name is not mentioned at all in the prosecutor’s announcement

This report also stated that the French McKinsey subsidiaries managed to pay no corporate tax at all between 2011-2020. In his announcement, the financial prosecutor Jean-Francois Bonner recalls that an investigation into money laundering, with aggravating circumstances, is already underway, since March 31, and that an on-site search was carried out at the company’s headquarters in France on May 24.

Macron, whose name is not mentioned at all in the public prosecutor’s announcement, protected by presidential immunity, as provided for by Article 67 of the French Constitution. Based on this article, the head of state may not, during his term of office, be called as a witness or subject to investigation or prosecution by any judicial or administrative authority. If prosecutors decide Emmanuel Macron needs to explain, they could call him to testify when his second term ends, but only for acts unrelated to the exercise of his presidential duties.

During the 2022 election campaign, Macron said McKinsey’s failure to pay corporate tax was due to pre-existing tax regulations. “If there is evidence of fraud, let the case go to justice,” he said. “We have nothing to hide” said Budget Minister Olivier Dussot in March, while the government announced that the company would have to pay all the taxes it might owe.

McKinsey has no information on the figures released by the press today“, moreover, the company reacted.

Source: News Beast

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