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Gifts received by Olivier Dussopt: the Minister announces that the PNF retains the offense of favoritism


The file dates back to when he was mayor of Annonay and deputy for the Ardèche constituency. The current Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt announced on Friday February 3 to Agence France-Presse that the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) had upheld the offense of “favouritism” in the case of the two works of art he received as a gift in 2017.

A preliminary investigation for illegal taking of interests had been opened against Olivier Dussopt by the PNF in June 2020, concerning two lithographs by the painter Gérard Garouste which had been offered to him by a company in 2017. The investigation, entrusted to the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption and Financial and Tax Offenses (Oclciff), was to verify possible acts of ” corruption “.

In a briefing note addressed to his lawyer, “the prosecution considers that there is only one grievance, in this case a formal offense of favoritism in a 2009 public contract”said the current labor minister, adding that“no corruption” is not blamed on him.

The links of the elected official with the water management company questioned

Olivier Dussopt had been pinned in May of the same year by Mediapart for having received as a gift from Saur, a water management company, the two lithographs, when a contract was just about to be concluded between the company and the town of Annonay.

The case reported by the news site dates back to January 2017, ten months before Olivier Dussopt entered the government as Secretary of State for the Civil Service. The works, estimated at the time at “just over 2,000 euros”were offered through Franck Meneroux, one of the managers of Saur in Ardèche, related Mediapart.

Read also Olivier Dussopt targeted by a PNF investigation after receiving two lithographs as a gift

Olivier Dussopt first invoked a gift from” friend “ of Franck Meneroux before recognizing “a corporate gift” offered during an interview with this manager and another Saur executive. The one who was Secretary of State at the time explained that he had not declared these lithographs to the ethics officer of the National Assembly – as is required for any gift of more than 150 euros -, because he “did not know the value” of the two tables. At the time of the release of the case, he had made it known To avoid any controversy, [avoir] decided to return this gift as soon as possible”.

The home of the member of the government had been searched following the opening of the investigation, in August 2020. During this search, “investigators from the Anti-Corruption Office (OCLCIFF) of the judicial police have in particular got their hands on exchanges between Olivier Dussopt and the company, which seem to leave little doubt about the existence of an arrangement around a dated public contract from 2009-2010 », note Mediapart February 3.

In his statement to the press agency on Friday evening, the Minister of Labor in office since May 2022, on the front line on the disputed pension reform, believes that the PNF “did his job and carried out an investigation and multiple investigations which brought to light five possible grievances”.

“My oral and written expressions have largely convinced the Public Prosecutor’s Office”Who “considers that four out of five of these grievances have no substance and has closed them without further action”. “I am therefore not accused of any corruption”adds the minister.

It is now up to the courts to decide on the legal follow-up that will be given to the violation of “favoritism” retained by the PNF.

The World with AFP