PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron denied on Friday that he had been the subject of a judicial inquiry into suspicions of illegal financing of electoral campaigns in 2017 and 2022.
The comments come after major French newspaper Le Parisien first reported on the investigation on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a visit to eastern France, Macron said he had ‘nothing to fear’ from the investigation, and said it was not his target main – suggesting instead that it was mainly consultancy firms.
Macron said he learned of the investigation through press reports. “Nobody wrote to me, nobody called me,” he said.
Justice will work “freely” and “shed light on the matter”, he said. “It is normal for justice to do its job,” he added.
France’s national financial prosecutor’s office said on Thursday that a judicial investigation was opened last month into allegations of “inconsistent campaign accounts” and “reduction of accounting items” in relation to consultancy firms operating during election campaigns. from 2017 and 2022, including the American consulting firm McKinsey. & Company. Another investigation has been opened into allegations of patronage in relation to these campaigns, the statement said.
The statement does not mention Macron or his party.
Macron said on Friday that his 2017 campaign accounts had already been validated through a lengthy legal process. Accounts for this year’s campaign are currently being processed, as with any other candidate, he added. Campaign finance in France is strictly regulated.
Le Parisien, citing unnamed sources, said the magistrates were focusing on the terms under which some major contracts between McKinsey and the state were concluded after Macron’s election.
Macron has denied any link between some employees of voluntary consulting companies during his campaigns and contracts between the state and these companies.
The investigation follows another opened in March this year by French financial prosecutors into suspected tax evasion by McKinsey. The company said at the time that it “respects the French tax rules applicable to it”.
This investigation was opened two weeks after a report by the French Senate said that McKinsey had not paid corporate income taxes in the country since at least 2011. The report also questioned the recourse by the government to private consultants.
Macron then said he was “shocked” by suspicions of tax evasion by consulting firms.
The so-called “McKinsey affair” drew criticism from Macron’s rivals ahead of the French presidential election that saw him win a second term in April.