Preliminary investigation into “illegal taking of interests” targets Foreign Minister Sébastien Lecornu for his activities at the head of the Eure department, the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) told AFP on Wednesday, confirming information about the Chained Duck and Liberation.
This investigation was opened in March 2019 on charges of “illegal taking of interests” and “failure to report to the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life”. It was entrusted to the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption and Financial and Fiscal Offenses (OCLCIFF).
According to Liberation, this investigation was born following a letter from a “banker of local communities converted into energy” addressed in January 2019 to the head of the PNF at the time, Eliane Houlette.
In his declaration to the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATVP), Mr. Lecornu claims to have received between July 2016 and June 2017 a total of 7,874 euros gross of “attendance fees” as director of Société des autoroutes Paris Normandy (SAPN).
However, Mr. Lecornu was at the same time president of the department of Eure, and, “as such, approved several deliberations” of the community relating to the SAPN, at least four according to the Duck, five according to Libération.
Asked by AFP, the minister’s office said that “this mandate was exercised by Sébastien Lecornu in a completely transparent manner, which is the subject of traditional legal publications and a statement to the HATVP.”
“Sébastien Lecornu quite simply pursued a historic practice, following his election, by sitting for a year on the Board of SAPN”, one added.
“The management of the road network has always been associated with the public sphere. When in 2005 the motorways were granted by the State to private operators, it was necessary to maintain (…) close links with the authorities public “and” as such, the departments of Calvados, Seine-Maritime and Eure are minority shareholders of SAPN and, therefore, participate in the general meeting, “said the cabinet.
“The presence of the presidents of the departmental council makes it possible to make the voice of the territories heard, relaying the public imperatives, with regard to the motorway projects which cross the department”, one insisted.