Thursday, February 2, 2017

Affaire Fillon : where is the investigation ? – Europe1

The noose tightens around François Fillon. Eight days after the revelations of the Duck Chained on the job fictitious alleged his wife, the candidate LR is under investigation for embezzlement of public funds, misuse of corporate assets and concealment, now extended to his children, employees when he was a senator. The mp and his wife have already been heard by the justice, just like his former deputy in the national Assembly, Marc Joulaud. And in the light of the first results of the investigations, several voices within the Republican demand already a change of candidate for the presidential election.

No badge, but contracts. Thursday, may 26, the day after the opening of the investigation, a search was conducted in the premises of the Revue des deux Mondes, of which Penelope Fillon would have been employed from may 2012 to December 2013. The operation continued till late in the evening. The next day, the editorial director of the magazine, Kinky Michel, was the first heard by the investigators, for nearly four hours. “I said everything”, he just slipped at the end of this hearing, suggesting that he had held to justice the same way, that, to the journalists of Duck Chained. “She has signed two, or maybe three, reading notes”, without leaving the slightest trace of what might look like a work of literary consultant,” he told the newspaper.

The investigation has accelerated in the beginning of the week, with, in particular, the hearing of the couple Fillon and searches in the national Assembly. The operation has allowed to establish that Penelope Fillon did not have badge access to the building, or e-mail address in the format of the staffers. It was also the occasion of the seizure of the contracts of employment of the spouse of the candidate LR as a parliamentary attaché. One of these documents, signed in 1998 and valid until 2002, establishes that it is supposed to work to the permanence of the BPR, located in le Mans. According to the Obs, which has interrogated a number of activists, no one remembers having seen. But the reference to “Sablé-sur-Sarthe” stronghold of François Fillon, is also listed on the contract, this time without a precise address… the entourage of The mp stresses that his wife was commissioned to “make up” the “voice of the Sarthe” with her husband , which may explain its lack of badge in Paris.

It is always more complicated to show that something does not exist

A mission to the edge blur. The reality of the hiring is confirmed, the investigators are now trying to establish if Penelope Fillon has worked well against his wages. His lawyer has assured him that she had provided the investigators “all the details demonstrating the existence of an actual work”, on Thursday. “But it is always more complicated to show that something does not exist”, says a magistrate. In recent days, the defence of the applicant also appears to rely on vague activities collaborator in parliament. She “corrected my speech, “has received countless people who wanted to see me and that I couldn’t see”, “I was represented in events and associations”, listed French prime minister François Fillon. Missions are difficult to quantify.

In this framework, the investigators have also heard Marc Joulaud, deputy François Fillon, who served as his chair, deputy of the Sarthe from 2002 to 2007, as remuneration for the wife of his predecessor at the height of 6.900 euros gross monthly. While the former Prime Minister has described a working relationship is very personal with his wife, how his substitute will he justify to turn its business ? “What we must understand is that when Joulaud has replaced the elected mp it was still Fillon,” said a member of the entourage of the candidate. At the end of his hearing by the investigators on Wednesday, the deputy has just said that he wanted “this case to be closed quickly”.

Thursday, the investigation has also been extended, again on the basis of the revelations of the Canard Enchaîné. The weekly says that the couple’s children Fillon, Mary and Charles, would receive 84,000 euro gross to both of them as parliamentary assistants to their father when he was a senator, and even though they had not completed their law studies. In the same logic as for their mother, the investigators will seek to verify the materiality of the work done by the children Fillon.

A fast-track survey. In a week, the majority of the protagonists of the case have already been summoned and heard by the investigators, which may surprise in a folder politico-financial of this magnitude. These shorter time limits are explained by the very particular context of the case, in which the central character is a candidate in the presidential election. However, the first round of this maturity date is less than three months : the magistrates want to purge the folder quickly. “We have 15 days to hold because it is known that in the 15 coming days, or will the results of this survey,” said François Fillon himself on Wednesday. To note that the people already interviewed may again be heard by the justice, for instance, if the items seized during the searches do not corroborate their words. The children’s hearing Fillon, as the seizure of documents in the Senate, could happen in the next few days.

But the prosecutor’s office, national financial (PNF) remains in control of the schedule, and in such cases, the investigations typically take several months. The folder, therefore, should not be closed before, at least, several weeks. Once the PNF considers all the necessary investigations are completed, he will make a decision. Three paths will be possible : a classification without continuation, if no offence is proven, the opening of a judicial investigation entrusted to the co-investigating judges, for pushing the investigation, or a direct quote of the protagonists before the criminal court.


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