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DIJON: French President Emmanuel Macron denied on Friday (November 25) that he was the main subject of a judicial investigation into the government’s use of management consultants and their role in his recent election campaign.

France’s financial crimes prosecutor’s office said late Thursday that it had launched an investigation believed to be focused on President Emmanuel Macron and his 2017 and 2022 presidential elections.

“I’m not afraid of anything,” the 44-year-old head of state told reporters during a trip to the town of Dijon.

“I don’t think your servant is central to the investigation,” he added, referring to himself.

β€œIt is normal for the justice system to work. It is free to do so and shed light on this issue.”

The prosecutor’s statement did not name President Macron or his campaign, but investigators are investigating allegations of bias and hidden campaign finance in connection with a management consulting firm. said.

The inquiry began after complaints came out in March after a Senate report showed government spending on consultants more than doubled during Macron’s first term in office from 2017 to 2022. rice field.

The allegations of favoritism relate to US-based consulting firm McKinsey, which was the biggest beneficiary of those deals and reportedly provided free staff to Macron’s 2017 campaign team. There is a possibility that

McKinsey Gate?

When asked about the allegations, Macron said “no”, adding that he had already described himself “hundreds of times”.

Senate revelations about spending on consultants that reached €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) last year were captured by opponents during Macron’s campaign for a second term in April this year.

The scandal, dubbed “McKinseygate” by the French media, was controversial and many French were shocked by the use of expensive foreign firms specializing in strategic advice and IT services.

Macron has repeatedly defended his reliance on consultants.

“If you want your policies to be enforced very quickly and very strongly, sometimes you have to use outside contractors,” he told reporters in late March.

The investigation is important because it could be the first to risk implicating the president personally.

Several of his allies, including his current chief of staff, face legal investigations on various charges.

“Slow Poison”

The most damaging incident involved his former bodyguard, who was filmed beating a protester in 2018 and was later convicted of assault.

Frederic Dabi, director of the polling group Ifop, told AFP: “For now, the issue has completely cleared the minds of the French, who are preoccupied with economic, energy and social issues. exceeded,” he said.

“With a series of judicial moves, it remains to be seen whether it will be a slow poison for Macron’s camp,” he added.

France has strict rules for campaigning and funding political parties, and has seen many convictions in recent decades.

Right-wing ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to one year in prison in September 2021 for illegally financing his 2012 re-election bid.

The judge concluded that Sarkozy spent nearly double the legal limit on his doomed quest for a second term.

he appealed.

Sylvain Maillard, the interim Macron party leader in parliament, told Europe 1 on Friday: “Now that the inquiry has been launched, let’s stop imagining anything outrageous.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/world/macron-denies-being-main-target-campaign-financing-probe-3101571 Macron denies being prime target of campaign finance probe

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