An investigation, entrusted to the judicial police of Nice, was opened on the campaign led by Christian Estrosi on the occasion of the last municipal elections of June 2020, we learned from the public prosecutor of Nice Xavier Bonhomme, confirming information from Nice morning. It relates to possible overruns of donation ceilings.
“But this in no way prejudges the follow-up that could be given at the end” of these investigations, made a point of specifying the magistrate to 20 minutes.
The investigation follows a report from the National Commission for Campaign Accounts and Political Funding (CNCCFP) on the amounts paid by candidates on the list carried by the mayor of Nice for his campaign.
Elected officials interviewed by investigators
Half a dozen running mates of Christian Estrosi (Horizons) are thus affected by these possible overruns of the ceiling, which are concentrated around payments to two distinct political structures, Les Amis du Maire and Le Rassemblement.
Philippe Pradal, Horizons deputy, not himself concerned by these possible irregularities, was heard by the investigators of the judicial police as an accountant of the two political structures concerned. Other elected officials should be questioned.
To appear on Christian Estrosi’s list during this campaign, the candidates participated in its financing up to 10,000 euros for deputies and 6,000 euros for municipal councillors, a common practice in political parties, according to a municipal source.
The distinction between donations and contributions in question
In the entourage of the mayor, where it is specified that the accounts of the municipal campaign itself have been validated, it is explained that the sums were paid in the form of donations to one of the two parties, donations which must respect a legal ceiling of 7,500 euros, and in the form of contributions to the second political structure.
According to this source, the Campaign Accounts Commission did not distinguish between donations and contributions. However, if the holders of an elective mandate are required to respect the ceiling of 7,500 euros for the donations they make to a party, their contributions are not limited. The investigation will have to determine whether irregularities have therefore actually been committed and whether the donation ceilings have been exceeded.