The successful election campaign that brought 40-year-old Emmanuel Macron to power in May 2017 may have benefited from illegal help and financing, and a French prosecutor has opened an investigation into the campaign’s support in Lyon, media sources reported on Monday.
The investigation, opened by a regional prosecutor in the Lyon region, is unlikely to have a major impact on Macron’s presidency and his team deny any wrongdoing and dismiss the allegations as baseless.
“France Info” radio, reporting the investigation, indicated that prosecutors are seeking to establish if Macron got special treatment by the city of Lyon, where one of his major supporters was mayor of the city.
Gerard Collomb, who is now Interior Minister, was in charge of Lyon during the election campaign but he has rejected any favouritism in helping the Macron campaign in his city.
Right-wing opposition groups have made an official complaint for illicit funding and corruption against Collomb’s Mayoral office.
The French President’s campaign in 2017, is alleged in separate allegations, to have received cut-rate deals on rally venues and other organisational costs, cuts that were has high as 80 percent compared with other candidates in the French election.
French election campaigns face strict limits on spending of just over USD 25 million and can lose official subsidies and have to pay back any overspend from private sources.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was found to have overspent by tens of millions of Euros in his 2012 campaign and is facing investigation along with his team and financiers for illegal spending.
Source: Kuwait News Agency