A pillar of the majority in court. Two Parisian investigating judges ordered Thursday the dismissal of François Bayrou and ten other people in the case of the irregular employment of assistants to MEPs, AFP learned from a source familiar with the matter.
On the other hand, a dismissal was ordered for Sylvie Goulard, who had resigned from the Ministry of the Armed Forces in 2017 a month after her arrival, following the revelations of these facts. The eleven natural persons as well as the MoDem and the ex-UDF are suspected of having used European funds to hire parliamentary assistants who would have actually worked, at least partially, for the party between 2009 and 2014.
According to the order of which AFP was aware, François Bayrou “appears as the decision-maker and responsible for the establishment and operation of the fraudulent system” in question. At the beginning of February, he had challenged any fictitious employment and other “procedures” of embezzlement of public funds within his party.
Hijackings organized by the UDF then the MoDem
“In view of the mode of operation of the parties resulting from the statutes, and the weight of its two heads, François Bayrou and Marielle de Sarnez”, deceased and therefore no longer subject to prosecution, “it appeared clearly that the arbitrations and instructions given had been their doing, ”the magistrates further argue.
“The embezzlement of European funds was organized by the political parties UDF and (his successor) MoDem, whose responsibility is engaged and several people, members of the governance of political parties, have been identified as accomplices in the embezzlement by setting up the cogs necessary for the fraudulent system”, they write again.
Damage estimated at 1.4 million euros
“The MEPs, the main authors of the embezzlements carried out, were the vectors of these embezzlements, through the fictitious employment of parliamentary assistants for the exclusive benefit of the political party”, also underline the judges.
The investigations mainly target the 2009-2014 European legislature but also, to a lesser extent, the previous and subsequent legislatures. The damage to the European Parliament is assessed at 1.4 million euros. 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, a month after their entry into government in 2017.