The National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) has upheld the offense of “favoritism” against the Minister of Labor Olivier Dussopt in the case of two works of art received as a gift in 2017. A preliminary investigation for illegal taking of interest was to verify possible facts of “corruption” and “illegal taking of interest”.
Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt announced to AFP on Friday that the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) had upheld the offense of “favoritism” in the case of two works of art received as gifts in 2017. In a note from summary addressed to his lawyer, “the prosecution considers that there remains a single grievance, in this case a formal offense of favoritism in a public contract of 2009”, declared Olivier Dussopt to AFP, adding that “no corruption “is not blamed on him.
A preliminary investigation for illegal taking of interest had been opened against Olivier Dussopt, concerning two lithographs by the painter Gérard Garouste which had been offered to him by a company in 2017, when he was deputy and mayor of Annonay. The investigation was to verify possible facts of “corruption” and “illegal taking of interest”.
“My oral and written expressions have largely convinced the Public Prosecutor’s Office”
In his statement to AFP on Friday evening, the Minister of Labor – on the front line on the disputed pension reform – indicates that the PNF “did its job and carried out an investigation and multiple investigations which brought to light five grievances possible”. “My oral and written expressions have largely convinced the Public Prosecutor’s Office”, which “considers that four out of five of these grievances have no substance and have closed them without further action”. “No corruption is therefore reproached to me”, adds the minister.
These two lithographs had been offered by a local manager of Saur, a French water treatment group, when a contract was about to be concluded between the town of Annonay (Ardèche) and this company. The contract, negotiated since 2016, was formally signed six months later, on June 1, 2017. Olivier Dussopt then explained that he had not declared these lithographs to the ethics officer of the National Assembly – as is required for all gift of more than 150 euros– because he “did not know the value” of the two paintings. He then returned them.
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