This complaint for “aggravated blackmail, ambush in an organized gang, embezzlement of public funds and non-denunciation of criminal acts” follows the publication Friday by Médiapart of an investigation affirming that a deputy mayor, Samy Kéfi-Jérôme , had organized a filmed meeting with a gay escort to trap and muzzle Mr. Artigues.

The complaint was received Monday morning and the case was moved to Lyon on the instructions of the general prosecutor at the Lyon court of appeal, the public prosecutor of Saint-Etienne, David Charmatz, told AFP.

Mediapart, which published compromising images taken from the video, relies on the revelations of Gilles Rossary-Lenglet. He claims to have organized at the end of 2014 with his then companion, Samy Kéfi-Jérôme, the meeting between Mr. Artigues and an escort in a Paris hotel room.

According to him, this video would then have allowed the municipal team of Gaël Perdriau and his director of cabinet Pierre Gauttieri to put pressure on the father of the family and to dissuade him from a possible dissidence. His candidacy for the second round of municipal elections in 2008 divided the right and contributed to the election of Maurice Vincent (PS).

Affected by this complaint alongside MM. Rossary-Lenglet and Kéfi-Jérôme, Gaël Perdriau said on Saturday that he had “no comment to make on a video at this stage” which he claims not to have seen, and “firmly contests any notion of blackmail against Gilles Artigues”.

The centrist elected official, who resigned last May from his position as first deputy, declared on his Facebook account on Monday that this blackmail had “rotten his life”.

“This life which is so beautiful and which I have several times thought of leaving, so desperate was I”, assures the 57-year-old former deputy for the Loire (2002-2007), who had abruptly interrupted his campaign in the spring. in the legislative elections despite his LR-UDI nomination.

Gilles Rossary-Lenglet, who now refuses to speak, also told Médiapart that he had received a job offer in recent years from the town hall, which did not materialize, and 50,000 euros for services rendered, via remuneration by cultural associations.

For his part, Samy Kefi-Jérôme, regional councilor, was suspended on Saturday from his duties as delegate for the digital strategy of the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region by its president Laurent Wauquiez.

Asked by AFP about the belated nature of his client’s complaint, Me André Buffard indicated that “at the start Gilles Artigues was not aware of what had really happened in this hotel room”, in particular having the feeling of having been drugged. Then he gave in to blackmail “for the sake of preserving his family and loved ones”.

Still deputy to the city and vice-president of his metropolis, Mr. Artigues has just been appointed diocesan director of Catholic education from the Tarn to Albi.