Anti-Corruption Group Calls for Probe into Macron’s Campaign Accounts

A French anti-corruption group called for an inquiry into the campaign accounts of President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, alleging he received illegal discounts during his 2017 presidential bid.

 

Emmanuel Macron in July 2017Emmanuel Macron (Presidencia de la República Mexicana, CC BY 2.0)
The Republican Front for Intervention Against Corruption (Fricc) said it will file a complaint with Paris prosecutors to open an investigation into reports that Macron’s campaign benefited from illegal financing through discounts that greatly exceeded legally sanctioned amounts.

During the 2017 election, Macron allegedly received discounts of up to 75 percent from venues and service providers, and his opponents were charged up to four times more for the same venues or services.

According to Fricc, an internal document from National Commission of Campaign Accounts and Political Financing (CNCCFP) states that discounts or rebates may not surpass 20 percent.

However, the head of CNCCFP, Francois Logerot, stated on Thursday that their auditors have not found any irregularities in Macron’s accounts, despite multiple reports from local media claiming the campaign had received “broken prices” and “hidden rebates,” according to Europe1.

Logerot stressed the peculiarity of market price fluctuations in the event sector. "Very often, the comparisons relate to services of different natures, at different dates.” he said, according to Europe1. “There is no comparison possible."

When the discounts were first revealed by French media in May, the commission had already stated they were acceptable and did not constitute illegal violations of campaign finance law, but critics have said the commission could have been deceived by erroneous or truncated information.

The allegations of financial favoritism come as Macron's chief of staff, Alexis Kohler, is accused of influence-peddling and breaching conflict-of-interest rules over his connection to the Swiss-Italian shipping giant MSC.