The president of the Modem François Bayrou in Guidel in the Morbhian, September 29, 2017 DAMIEN MEYER
The Modem and the UDF were indicted in December for “complicity and concealment of embezzlement of public funds” in the investigation into suspicions of fictitious jobs of parliamentary assistants of centrist MEPs, we learned Thursday from sources familiar with the matter.
Fifteen people, including François Bayrou, former Minister of Justice Michel Mercier and former MEPs Sylvie Goulard, Nathalie Griesbeck and Jean-Luc Bennahmias, have already been prosecuted in this judicial investigation conducted since 2017 by investigating judges from the financial center of the Paris judicial court.
The survey concerns the organization of the work of people hired with European funds as parliamentary assistants for MEPs, but who could have held a job, full or part-time, at the UDF then at the MoDem.
The UDF, swallowed up by the MoDem when it was created in 2007, has retained a legal existence.
Contacted, the lawyer for both parties did not wish to react.
The Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation in March 2017 after the denunciation of a former elected member of the National Front, Sophie Montel, on the fictitious jobs of employees of 19 of her colleagues from all sides, including two from the Modem: Robert Rochefort and Marielle de Sarnez – who died in January 2021 – right-hand man of party president François Bayrou.
These revelations had weakened the Modem, President Emmanuel Macron’s main ally, and led to the resignation of François Bayrou, then Keeper of the Seals, Marielle de Sarnez (European Affairs) and Sylvie Goulard (Armies), a month after their entry into government.
A judicial investigation has been open since July 2017 for in particular “embezzlement of public funds”.
The Modem has always defended itself by assuring to have “respected all the rules”.
In 2019, a dozen centrist MEPs, officials or former party officials were indicted, in particular for “embezzlement of public funds”. Among them Sylvie Goulard, Marielle de Sarnez, Jean-Luc Bennahmias and Nathalie Griesbeck.
The mayor of Pau was indicted in December 2019 for “complicity in the embezzlement of public funds” between June 2005 and January 2017.
According to a report made in April 2021 by the Anti-Corruption Office (Oclciff), in charge of investigations, the centrist party has set up an “old and more or less informal system” of embezzling European funds to pay its employees.
“To support his party and ensure its functioning at a lower cost, François Bayrou and Marielle de Sarnez, supported by party officials, have placed at the service of the UDF, then of the Modem, parliamentary assistants paid by the European Parliament” , is it summarized there.
The damage to the European Parliament is estimated at 1.4 million euros.