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the PNF opens a judicial investigation

Justice takes up the case of the Marianne fund (photo by Marlène Schiappa taken in July 2020)
THOMAS SAMSON / AFP Justice takes up the case of the Marianne fund (photo by Marlène Schiappa taken in July 2020)

THOMAS SAMSON / AFP

Justice takes up the case of the Marianne fund (photo by Marlène Schiappa taken in July 2020)

POLITICS – From the political field to the judicial field. The National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) opened this Thursday, May 4, a judicial investigation, in particular on suspicion of “embezzlement of public funds” in the management of the Marianne fund, created in 2021 to fight against separatism, said the PNF, confirming information from France Inter.

The management of this “Marianne Fund for the Republic”, launched by Minister Marlène Schiappa a few months after the assassination of Professor Samuel Paty, had been the subject of several reports to the courts after press articles. The judicial investigation relates in particular to suspicions of embezzlement of public funds, breach of trust and illegal taking of interests, specified the PNF to AFP.

When it was created in April 2021, this fund had the ambition to “finance people and associations who will make speeches to promote the values ​​of the Republic and to fight against separatist speeches, in particular on social networks and online platforms”according to Marlène Schiappa.

Marlene Schiappa talks about “slanders”

However, at the end of March, the weekly Marianne and France 2 broadcast a joint investigation bringing to light its opaque management. According to their investigations, the main beneficiary of the fund, the USEPPM association, with its 355,000 euros endowment, only fed a website and publications with little follow on social networks. Some 120,000 euros were also used to pay two of its former leaders.

The Mediapart site then revealed that several left-wing personalities had been denigrated in content posted online by another structure benefiting from the fund, “Rebuilding the commons”who won 330,000 euros.

A first report was issued by Christian Gravel, head of the Interministerial Committee for the Prevention of Delinquency and Radicalization (CIPDR), to whom had been entrusted the procedure for selecting subsidized associations and whose role is questioned in journalistic investigations.

Two other reports were sent to justice by the PS mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and the head of the deputies of La France insoumise Mathilde Panot. For Mathilde Panot, “the facts are serious and question the responsibility of Marlène Schiappa in the creation, use and control of these public funds”.

For her part, Marlène Schiappa lambasted “slanders”. She notably indicated on April 27 on Twitter that her lawyer “would sue for defamation all those who wrongly impute an act of favoritism”. The Secretary of State for Citizenship also indicated that it had asked the General Inspectorate of Administration (IGA) for an audit of this file.

Finally, the Senate Finance Committee, dominated by the right-wing opposition, asked Wednesday to be given the prerogatives of a commission of inquiry to look into this file.

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