French National Assembly speaker charged over illegal income

French National Assembly speaker charged over illegal income
# 12 September 2019 11:03 (UTC +04:00)

Three investigating judges in the French city of Lille charged Richard Ferrand, the president of the French parliament's lower house, the National Assembly, with "illegally obtaining income" from an enterprise, APA reports citing Sputnik.

Note that on Wednesday, the BFMTV broadcaster reported that Ferrand was testifying in the case of illegal financial transactions in connection with the insurers' society Mutuelles de Bretagne, which at one time led to his resignation from the ministerial position.

The newspaper noted that the testimony lasted more than 13 hours. The charges were brought in the early hours of Thursday.

The official noted that he was "determined to continue the mission entrusted to him by his partners and voters" and is not going to resign from his post. Ferrand also said he was calm about the outcome of the proceedings.

At the same time, the official's lawyers will challenge the decision to bring him in as a defendant in a criminal case.

In 2017, Ferrand, who served as the minister of territorial cohesion, was the subject of an article by the Canard Enchaine weekly, which claimed that Ferrand's nonprofit organisation had leased an office owned by his partner's real estate agency in 2011, which, in the opinion of the publication, created a conflict of interest.

Le Monde newspaper also published facts that supposedly testify to the "mixing of genres" of Ferrand's public and private life. In particular, the newspaper wrote that, after being elected to the parliament, Ferrand introduced the bill in the interests of the insurer's lobby, from which he still received financial assistance.

Ferrand himself rejected the allegations of involvement in financial fraud, calling his professional activities "legal and transparent," adding that he will not leave his post. However, the publications and the preliminary investigation forced Ferrand to resign as minister.

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