The President of the French National Assembly, Richard Ferrand who is a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron has been charged over a property deal from which he is suspected to have illegally profited.
According to prosecutors on Thursday, an insurance fund which Ferrand headed in 2011 in Brittany, his hometown agreed to rent a building from his wife and carry out renovations to boost its value.
The allegations levelled against Ferrand forced him to step down from Macron’s government in 2017, staining the reputation of the president who came to power on a pledge to rejuvenate the country’s corruption-plagued political class.
Prosecutors later dropped the charges, paving the way for Ferrand, a former leader of Macron’s party to make a comeback.
However, an anti-corruption organization later filed another complaint against Ferrand, forcing the case to be reopened.
The three investigating magistrates leading the investigation said in the early hours of Thursday that they had decided to charge Ferrand with conflict of interest.
Reacting to the announcement, Macron said on Thursday that Ferrand still had all his confidence, describing him as a ‘loyal, upstanding man’ with an exemplary political career.
The 57-year-old Ferrand, a former Minister for Territorial Cohesion in Macron’s government has however denied any wrongdoing, saying his wife made the fund the best offer and that he had no say in the matter.