Laurent Maffeis and Aigline de Causans, who were parliamentary assistants to Mr. Mélenchon between 2009 and 2017, were questioned by the investigating judges in charge of these investigations respectively on May 13 and 16, AFP learned on Tuesday from close sources. folder.
They are the first people and the only ones to date to have been heard by the investigating magistrates since the opening of this judicial investigation in November 2018.
They were summoned to be heard under the status of assisted witness for embezzlement of public funds, concealment and laundering of this crime, as well as breach of trust and concealment.
“We benefit in this case from the status of assisted witness, an intermediate status indicating that there is no serious and consistent evidence against my clients”, reacted their lawyer Jade Dousselin, requested by AFP. “We can only welcome the placement under this status which demonstrates that no element of incrimination could be established against Mr. Mélenchon and his parliamentary assistants.”
If they are not subsequently indicted, his clients cannot effectively be sent back to court for a trial.
The case started with a report from MEP Sophie Montel, who was at the time a member of the National Front (FN).
While the far-right party was the target of a judicial inquiry into its MEP assistants, the elected official had denounced to the Paris prosecutor’s office in March 2017 around twenty MEPs from other parties, some of whom were assistants to the European Parliament. elsewhere positions in their respective political parties. In June of the same year, she had made a report concerning Mr. Mélenchon and four of his assistants.
– “System” –
Following the first report, the Paris prosecutor’s office had opened a preliminary investigation in March for breach of trust targeting several elected officials, including some from the MoDem, which it had then widened the following July to the activities of the former MEP of the Party of left (2009-2017) and leader of the Insoumis.
The investigations into the conditions of employment of the assistants of MEPs of the MoDem had been entrusted in July 2017 to investigating judges, while those which targeted LFI were entrusted in November 2018.
In this judicial information, the judges seek to determine whether the assistants, paid with European credits, have indeed worked for tasks concerning the European Parliament and not for tasks concerning their party.
The investigations concerning the FN, which has since become the National Rally (RN), and the MoDem have since been closed. In the judicial investigation targeting the RN, 29 elected officials and assistants were indicted, including Marine and Jean-Marie Le Pen, while in that which targets the MoDem, they are about fifteen, including François Bayrou.
Investigators from the Oclciff (anti-corruption office) concluded that the far-right party and the centrist party had set up a “system” of embezzlement of European funds to pay their employees.
The damage to the European Parliament has been assessed for the former RN at 6.8 million euros between 2009 and 2017 and for the MoDem at 1.4 million euros.
LFI is the subject of another judicial investigation, this time concerning the financing of Mr. Mélenchon’s 2017 presidential campaign. It was opened following a report, on March 16, 2018, from the National Commission for Campaign Accounts.
In this case, three indictments were pronounced in 2021 against the association l’Ere du peuple, founded in 2015 by relatives of the leader of LFI, the financial agent of the candidate Marie-Pierre Oprandi and the Deputy Bastien Lachaud. Mr. Mélenchon disputes any violation in this investigation.