Art gifts

Home of minister raided for art gifts

French corruption investigators raided a minister’s home for allegedly accepting works of art as gifts he did not report, the latest member of President Emmanuel Macron’s government to be the subject of scrutiny.

Public Accounts Minister Oliver Dussopt on Tuesday had his home in the south of Ardèche searched by members of the prosecution for financial and tax crimes, sources told AFP on Wednesday.

The research concerns allegations that he accepted two lithographs from a company in 2017 while he was mayor of the town of Annonay.

Dussopt received the gifts from a water treatment company with which his town hall was about to enter into a contract, and prosecutors are investigating whether there was undue influence.

“The prosecution is making the necessary checks. This is normal and it will allow me to show that I have done nothing wrong,” Dussopt told AFP.

He said he returned the lithographs several weeks ago as he preferred to leave the problem behind.

He said he did not declare the gifts, as required for all donations over € 150, because he did not know their value.

Other members of Macron’s government under investigation include his chief of staff, Alexis Kohler, for conflict of interest over alleged ties to Italian-Swiss shipping giant MSC.

Macron’s ally, Richard Ferrand, has resigned as Minister of Housing over an investigation into a real estate deal, but he is now the Speaker of Parliament.

And new Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin is under active investigation for alleged rape.

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