PARIS — French national financial prosecutors announced on Thursday that they had opened an investigation into suspected illegal financing of election campaigns in 2017 and 2022. A major French newspaper reported that the investigation targeted President Emmanuel Macron’s winning electoral candidacies.
Prosecutors said in a written statement they wanted to provide clarification following news reports, in an apparent reference to Le Parisien newspaper reporting earlier in the day on an alleged investigation into Macron’s 2017 campaign and his links with the American consulting firm McKinsey. & Company.
The prosecutors’ statement, without citing Macron or his party, said a judicial inquiry was opened on October 20 into allegations of “inconsistent campaign accounts” and “reduction of accounting items” in relation to consulting firms. operating during the 2017 and 2022 election campaigns.
The following day, another investigation was opened into allegations of patronage in relation to those campaigns, he said.
Campaign finance in France is strictly regulated.
Le Parisien, citing unnamed sources, said the magistrates were focusing on the terms under which some major contracts between McKinsey and the state were concluded after Macron’s election.
An official of the French presidency indicated that the Elysée “has been made aware of the communication from the financial prosecutor’s office concerning the opening of two judicial inquiries. … It is up to the judiciary to carry out the investigations independently.” The official was not authorized to be publicly named in accordance with presidential policy.
McKinsey representatives in France would not comment on the investigation.
The investigation follows another opened in March this year by French financial prosecutors into suspected tax evasion by McKinsey. The company said at the time that it “respects the French tax rules applicable to it”.
This investigation was opened two weeks after a report by the French Senate said that McKinsey had not paid corporate income taxes in the country since at least 2011. The report also questioned the recourse by the government to private consultants.
Macron then said he was “shocked” by suspicions of tax evasion by consulting firms.
The so-called “McKinsey affair” drew criticism from Macron’s rivals ahead of the French presidential election that saw him win a second term in April.