Category Archives: France P.O.

+++ P.O. (BBG) Fillon Party Members Abandon Him as Campaign Turmoil Deepens


It is obvious to me that Mr Fillon is not an acceptable candidate to the office of President of the French Republic.

And his refusal to quit only increases the odds of Mrs Le Pen winning her bid to the Presidency.

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(Bloomberg) — French presidential candidate Francois Fillon’s campaign woes deepened as the exodus of lawmakers and other elected officials from his own party gathered pace Thursday.

More than 40 politicians said they could no longer support a presidential candidate facing charges for the alleged embezzlement of public funds. The latest departures included lawmakers Benoist Apparu, Edouard Philippe and Christophe Bechu, as well as his campaign treasurer Gilles Boyer and Paris city Councilor Pierre-Yves Bournazel. They were joining Bruno Le Maire, his foreign policy adviser and former agriculture minister, who quit his campaign team on Wednesday.

Fillon, the 62-year-old former prime minister, vowed Wednesday to maintain his candidacy, saying his judicial woes amounted to a “political assassination.” While Fillon was still front runner in the race to become France’s next president as little as two months ago, the investigation into his employment of his wife has marred his campaign since mid-January. Some Republicans are calling for Alain Juppe, another former premier who was beaten by Fillon in their party’s primary, to take over the campaign.

“I don’t think we have a single minute to lose in showing we have the ability to react to what has happened,” Georges Fenech, a Republican lawmaker said on BFM television. “I think Alain Juppe offers an alternative.”

Campaigning near the southern town of Nimes, Fillon insisted that his base “is holding.” He will speak again at 7:15 p.m. Paris time.

Meanwhile, some members of his party said his decision to not quit the race was helping the anti-immigrant, anti-euro party of Marine Le Pen.

“Up until now, it was the Socialists who were driving the National Front up, now it’s us,” Gerald Darmanin, a member of Fillon’s team and a supporter of former President Nicolas
Sarkozy, said in a tweet. “I’m ashamed of my party.”

+++ P.O. (FT) Christine Lagarde to stand trial over Tapie corruption affair


I have no idea on the merit or non merit of this extraordinary, and bizarre case.

This “is the latest twist in the 22-year legal saga”.

With merit, or without it, 22 years is far too long for a case like this to drag on.

The French sort of specialize in legal cases against politicians.

I don’t remember any major French politician that did not have legal problems, at some point…

Do you think it’s only a coincidence…?

I think not…

Just to name a few, Mr Chirac, Mr Sarkosy, Mr Trichet (who could not replace Mr Duisenberg in time at the ECB), Mr Strauss Kahn, just to name a few.

But you can check part of the extensive list in a TIME article “Can France Fix Its Conflict-of-Interest Problem?”.

French politics have been full of “cosy arrangements” between the Left, the Right, the “Énarques” (École nationale d’administration),the Freemasons,and on it goes…

Please see the Bloomberg Business article “France: Where Freemasons Are Still Feared” by Joshua Levine.

One wonders if the French are going to be able to fix this problem at all…

Personally, I doubt it…

“C’est la Vie” they would stay…

Francisco (Abouaf) de Curiel Marques Pereira

(FT) A French court has ordered Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, to face trial over her role in a disputed €400m payout made to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008.

Ms Lagarde, who was French finance minister at the time, has for years denied wrongdoing in the affair that has entangled several members of the cabinet of former President Nicolas Sarkozy.

She appeared to have won the day in September when prosecutors argued that the case against her should be dropped.

But France’s Cour de justice de la République, a special tribunal set up to try ministers, said on Thursday that she would stand trial over the affair. Ms Lagarde is accused of negligence in public office in relation to misuse of public funds, an offence that carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of up to €15,000.

The decision to put the IMF chief on trial is the latest twist in the 22-year legal saga.

It concerns more than €400m paid out to Mr Tapie by the French government in 2008 in compensation after he claimed he was defrauded by Crédit Lyonnais, at that point a state-owned bank, into selling his stake in sports equipment company Adidas for lower than it was worth in 1993.

The French state had long fought against the compensation claim, but abruptly changed tack and ordered an arbitration. Critics claimed the payout — approved by Ms Lagarde — was rigged to reward Mr Tapie, a former socialist, for backing Mr Sarkozy’s election campaign.

Earlier this month, however, the Paris appeal court ruled Mr Tapie had to pay back the money he received from the French state. He had been arguing the payout should have been higher.

In a statement, Ms Lagarde’s office said she “would like to reaffirm that she acted in the best interest of the French state and in full compliance with the law”.

Gerry Rice, spokesman for the IMF, said its executive board “continues to express its confidence in the managing director’s ability to effectively carry out her duties.

The IMF board was expected to meet on Thursday in Washington to be briefed on the latest developments, but one person close to the board said the most likely scenario was that it would issue a statement of support for Ms Lagarde.

Board members have been told that any case would be unlikely to go to trial before next autumn, after Ms Lagarde’s potential re-election to a second five-year term. Any trial, the board has been told before, would also probably be short with Ms Lagarde only required to attend one or two days.

Andrea Montanino, a former executive director at the IMF now at the Atlantic Council think-tank, said the board would have to consider whether the court’s decision — and any trial — would impede Ms Lagarde’s ability to travel and do her job.

Were the French judiciary to impose a travel ban or force her to spend months in a courtroom, the board might choose to ask her to step aside, even temporarily, he said.

Ms Lagarde’s lawyer, Yves Repiquet, said on Thursday that he would be recommending that she appeal against the decision. “It’s incomprehensible,” he said on French TV channel iTele. “I will recommend Lagarde appeal this decision.”

Ms Lagarde has been managing director of the IMF since 2011, when she was appointed to replace disgraced compatriot Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was forced to step down amid a sex scandal.

Her current five-year term expires in July next year and, although she has been coy about her intentions, she is widely expected to remain for a second term.

At the IMF she has won praise for her political judgment and for steering the fund through what has been a tricky period in its history stemming from its role in successive bailouts of Greece and a clamour by emerging economies such as China for greater influence.

Michel Sapin, French finance minister, said the trial should not prevent Ms Lagarde from doing her job. “She’s innocent until proven guilty, so I don’t see how this should prevent her from carrying out her current duties,” Mr Sapin said in New York.

Others entangled in the Tapie case include Stéphane Richard, chief executive of the state-backed telecoms operator Orange, who was chief of staff to Ms Lagarde during the arbitration process.Christine-Lagarde-to-stand-trial-over-Tapie-corruption-affair-