Fri. Dec 2nd, 2022

French state financial prosecutors said Thursday they had opened an investigation into suspected illegal financing of the 2017 and 2022 election campaigns.

A leading French newspaper reported that the investigation is focused on President Emmanuel Macron’s winning election.

Prosecutors said in a written statement that they wanted to make clarifications following the news reports, in an apparent reference to Le Parisien newspaper which earlier in the day had reported on an alleged investigation into Macron’s 2017 campaign and its ties to the US consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

The prosecutor’s statement, without citing Macron or his party, said a judicial investigation was opened on Oct. 20 into alleged “inconsistent campaign accounts” and “reduction of accounting items” related to consulting firms that operated during the 2017 and 2022 election campaigns. years.

Another investigation was opened the next day into alleged favoritism related to those campaigns, it said.

Campaign financing in France is strictly regulated.

Le Parisien, citing anonymous sources, said the judges were focusing on the conditions under which some large contracts between McKinsey and the state were made after Macron’s election.

A French presidency official said the Elysée Palace “is aware of the announcement by the financial prosecutor’s office regarding the opening of two judicial investigations. … It is up to the judicial system to conduct investigations completely independently.” The official was not authorized to be publicly appointed under presidential policy.

McKinsey representatives in France did not want to comment on the investigation.

The investigation follows another one opened in March this year by French financial prosecutors over suspected tax fraud by McKinsey. The company said at the time that it “respects the French tax rules that apply to it”.

That investigation was opened two weeks after a French Senate report said McKinsey had failed to pay corporate taxes in the country since at least 2011. The report also questioned the government’s use of private consultants.

At the time, Macron said he was “shocked” by the suspicions of tax evasion by consulting firms.

The so-called “McKinsey Affair” fueled criticism from Macron’s rivals ahead of the French presidential election that saw him win a second term in April.