- Title: French prosecutor opens inquiry into Macron minister
- Date: 1st June 2017
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (MAY 18, 2017) (REUTERS) BAYROU ARRIVING AT ELYSEE PALACE
- Embargoed: 15th June 2017 11:14
- Keywords: medical insurance group Brest Eric Mathais financial dealings Richard Ferrand Emmanuel Macron prosecutor France
- Location: PARIS & SAINT-NAZAIRE, FRANCE
- City: PARIS & SAINT-NAZAIRE, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0076JG53D3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A French public prosecutor on Thursday (June 1) opened an investigation into the financial dealings of Richard Ferrand, the head of Emmanuel Macron's successful presidential campaign and his appointed minister of territorial cohesion.
The public prosecutor in the western city of Brest said he had decided to open the inquiry after a string of media reports about the business and financial dealings of Ferrand, throwing a new spotlight on sleaze in a fraught election year.
The inquiry comes hours before the new president's government presents a new anti-graft legislation, just weeks after the end of a presidential campaign in which two of Macron's main opponents were hamstrung by corruption allegations.
The proposed new legislation to clean up political practices is set to ban hiring of family by members of parliament. Figures from opposing parties, Marine Le Pen and Theirry Solere criticised Ferrand's actions and called for fair standards.
French investigative newspaper Le Canard Enchaine released reports of Ferrand's management of a medical insurance group in Brittany six years ago, and notably the decision to rent office space from his wife. Another issue is his hiring of his son for four months as an assistant paid from parliamentary funds.
Ferrand has denied wrongdoing, and while hiring family as parliamentary assistants is banned in some countries, it is not illegal in France.
In France, the opening of a preliminary inquiry does not imply guilt. Prosecutors can decide after such preliminary checks whether there are grounds for a full-scale probe.
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