Macron’s chief of staff investigated by anti-corruption police
Inquiry is examining Alexis Kohler’s links to a Swiss-Italian shipping company
French President Emmanuel Macron and Secretary General of the Elysee Palace, Alexis Kohler at the Elysee Palace. Photograph: Stephane De Sakutin/Pool/File
Anti-corruption police have opened a preliminary inquiry into allegations that French president Emmanuel Macron’s chief of staff violated conflict of interest rules while he was a civil servant at the finance ministry.
The inquiry, which is being carried out by the prosecutor’s office for the national financial crime unit, is examining Alexis Kohler’s links to a Swiss -Italian shipping company that is a major client of one of France’s main shipyards.
The transparency campaign group Anticor launched a lawsuit on Friday after the French investigative website Mediapart revealed that Kohler had family links to the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), a world leader in container shipping and cruise holidays. Anticor’s complaint accused Kohler of “influence-peddling”.
Macron’s office issued a statement on Kohler’s behalf yesterday , in which it said the allegations were “completely unfounded” and based on “totally unfounded suspicions”.
Kohler, a discreet figure who prefers to remain out of the spotlight, is often portrayed in the French media as the president’s twin brother.
Macron appointed him as the Elysee Palace’s secretary general – or chief of staff – after winning the presidential election in May 2017. He is one of Macron’s most trusted aides and a key player in his ambitious reform programme
After a preliminary investigation, the prosecutor may decide to drop the case or open an official inquiry. – Guardian