Top Macron aide faces corruption inquiry

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Paris, June 4 (IANS) The chief of staff of French President Emmanuel Macron is under probe for alleged influence-peddling and conflict of interest.

The financial prosecutor’s office said on Monday it was checking whether Alexis Kohler, 45, had breached civil service rules when he was handling issues relating to the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the BBC reported.

Kohler, one of Macron’s closest aides, has denied wrongdoing. The Elysée Palace dismissed the allegations against him as “completely unfounded”. The report said that his family has links with Italian-Swiss MSC.

A criminal complaint against Kohler was filed by French anti-corruption watchdog Anticor. It said that the complaint was based on research done by the French news website Mediapart.

According to the report, MSC secured several state contracts while Kohler was a senior official in the Economy Ministry.

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In 2016, he left to join MSC as Finance Director, but continued to work on Macron’s bid for the presidency. He was rewarded with the top staff position at the Elysée Palace in May 2017.

Kohler was described as “the only close colleague Macron really listens to”, and it was Kohler who announced the choice of Edouard Philippe as Prime Minister.

–IANS

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