In the midst of the campaign for the presidency of LR, the right rose up on Tuesday, November 22 against the opening of an investigation by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) into the jobs of the ex-wife of Eric Ciotti, denouncing a “special jurisdiction”. The elected representative of the Alpes-Maritimes assured that these jobs were “fully exercised”.
“I would like to emphasize that these jobs have always been fully exercised, that they were known to all and in total coherence with his university training”Eric Ciotti said in a statement. “I therefore have no doubt that this investigation will confirm all these elements”added the deputy, one of the three candidates for the presidency of the LR alongside Bruno Retailleau and Aurélien Pradié.
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The PNF opened a preliminary investigation for embezzlement of public funds, breach of trust and concealment of these offenses, after the publication of articles according to which Caroline Magne, ex-wife of the deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes, cumulated several jobs for nearly ten years.
The elected representative of the Alpes-Maritimes explained last week that he had employed Caroline Magne as a parliamentary collaborator “very part-time” and “in strict compliance with laws and regulations”.
Haro on the PNF
On the right, several personalities denounced the opening of this investigation: “The PNF invites itself into the electoral calendar” Republicans and “It doesn’t surprise me anymore”launched to the press the president of the LR deputies, Olivier Marleix, eleven days before the first round of this internal election.
“No one disputes the materiality” jobs held, defended Olivier Marleix. “What bothers me is that the PNF seems to practice a double standard” and “looks like an exceptional court for Les Républicains”he continued, referring to the past investigations of François Fillon and Nicolas Sarkozy.
Cumulative jobs and good salaries: the career statement of Caroline Magne, ex-wife of Eric Ciotti
Same story in the camp of Aurélien Pradié where an elected official wonders about “this judiciary-political body always against the opposition and never against the majority”.
By concentrating their attacks on the procedure, the Republicans avoid talking about the substance, with the approach of a crucial election for the future of the party, which has fallen to 4.8% in the presidential election.
In the Ciotti camp, we do not believe that the opponents will try to recover this case. “It is not in their interest, the activists would not forgive them for using such a dirty practice. »
“We do not comment, we do not rejoice in it, we will not use it”assures Othman Nasrou, spokesperson for Bruno Retailleau, insisting on the desire to carry out “clean campaign”. “We don’t want to use it”abounds Pierre-Henri Dumont, close to Aurélien Pradié.
“It will have no impact on the campaign”
But eleven days before the first round, will such a development weigh on the internal election, of which Eric Ciotti appears to be the favorite? ” Not sure “it is estimated in the Pradié camp, deploring “banana skins”, ” not terrible “ for his entire political family.
“The activists are not fooled, they experienced the same phenomenon five years ago, but that did not prevent them from supporting François Fillon until the end” – unlike the electorate, told AFP Guilhem Carayon, campaign spokesperson for Eric Ciotti.
In 2017, the LR presidential candidate, François Fillon, had seen his career explode with the “Penelopegate”a case of fictitious jobs named after his wife, which earned him a court sentence this year.
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It is not for Eric Ciotti the same scenario, underlines an LR executive: “at this stage, nothing is reproached to him, and especially not fictitious jobs”. And “It will have no bearing on the campaign. It’s much too late, this kind of thing must have time to infuse to take effect., he adds. According to him, “there had already been an attempt last spring to release this information, it had flopped”.
In the entourage of Eric Ciotti, it is explained to have been questioned on the same subject, two or three weeks before the legislative elections, by a media which did not follow up. This, in their view, would lend credence to the idea of a ” leak “ organized information. In the camps of Bruno Retailleau and Aurélien Pradié, we swear not to be in charge.