AP

Macron says he’s not main focus of campaign accounts probe

Nov 24, 2022, 4:35 PM | Updated: Nov 25, 2022, 8:53 am

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday denied that he was the main focus of a judicial investigation into suspected illegal financing of electoral campaigns in 2017 and 2022.

The comments come after leading French newspaper Le Parisien first reported on the probe on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a visit to eastern France, Macron said he had “nothing to fear” from the investigation, and said he wasn’t its main focus — suggesting instead that it primarily involves consulting companies.

Macron said he learned about the investigation via press information. “Nobody wrote to me, nobody called me,´ he said.

The judiciary will work “freely” and “shed light on the issue,” he said. “It’s normal that justice does its job,” he added.

French national financial prosecutors said Thursday that a judicial inquiry was opened last month over alleged “inconsistent campaign accounts” and “reduction of accounting items” in relation with consulting companies operating during electoral campaigns of 2017 and 2022, including U.S. consulting company McKinsey & Company. Another investigation was opened over alleged favoritism in relation to those campaigns, the statement said.

The statement did not mention Macron or his party.

Macron said Friday that his 2017 campaign accounts have already been validated via a lengthy legal process. The accounts of this year’s campaign are currently going through the process, like for any other candidate, he added. Campaign financing in France is strictly regulated.

Le Parisien, citing anonymous sources, said magistrates are focusing on conditions under which some major contracts between McKinsey and the state were concluded after Macron’s election.

Macron denied any link between some employees of consulting companies volunteering during his campaigns and contracts between the state and these companies.

The investigation follows another one opened in March this year by French financial prosecutors into suspected tax fraud by McKinsey. The company said at the time that it “respects French tax rules that apply to it.”

That investigation was opened two weeks after a report by the French Senate said McKinsey had not paid corporate profit taxes in the country since at least 2011. The report also questioned the government’s use of private consultants.

Macron at the time said he was “shocked” by the suspicions of tax evasion on the part of consulting firms.

The so-called “McKinsey Affair” prompted criticism from Macron’s rivals ahead of France’s presidential election that led to his winning a second term in April.

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Macron says he’s not main focus of campaign accounts probe