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Former French PM Philippe’s mayoral office searched in corruption inquiry

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Former French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is cooperating with authorities, his office said on Wednesday, after police searched his office premises as part of what a judicial source said was a preliminary probe into possible corruption.

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Philippe, the mayor of Le Havre, is widely seen as a potential candidate to succeed Emmanuel Macron in the 2027 French presidential election.

The judicial source, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the search was “part of a preliminary investigation opened in December 2023 on charges of influence peddling, favouritism, misappropriation of public funds and psychological harassment”.

Philippe’s office said in a statement that he and his team “stand entirely and serenely at the disposal of the prosecutors to provide all of the elements necessary for the investigation”.

Earlier, speaking to the BFM TV news channel, Philippe said he and his team planned to show investigators “we respected the rules”.

French newspaper Le Monde, which first reported the probe, said on Wednesday it was targeting Philippe directly, as well as some of his aides.

Philippe resigned as prime minister in 2020 ahead of a government reshuffle. He was Macron’s first prime minister, having defected from the conservative Les Republicans party to join the president’s team after the 2017 election.

In 2020, Philippe was re-elected mayor of Le Havre, an industrial port town in northern France where he built his political career.

(Reuters)

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