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Castaner calls on the press to “not try to weaken” Pénicaud

Ⓒ AFP – Patrick KOVARIK – | Minister of Labor Muriel Pénicaud in Paris, June 28, 2017

Government spokesman Christophe Castaner on Wednesday asked the press to “not try to weaken” Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud, former head of Business France investigated, “because we are in an important moment for the reform work”.

“It deserves all my support,” he added during a press briefing at the end of the Council of Ministers, saying “the investigation must make it clear.”

The spokesman defended the minister on the merits of the case, arguing that when she found “irregularities” on expenses incurred by Business France, the agency she led, for a visit of Emmanuel Macron in Las Vegas , It had first requested an audit and then seized the general inspection.

This affair is embarrassing for the minister, who will have to defend the bill of empowerment to reform labor law by ordinances, the main reform wanted by Emmanuel Macron.

According to Libération, the minister “validated” certain expenses related to the organization of an evening in Las Vegas where Emmanuel Macron, then Minister of the Economy, had met leaders of French start-ups, a “circumvention of rules” Of the public agency responsible for promoting France to foreign investors. She then tried to stifle the case, according to the daily.

“There was a procedural error,” acknowledged Ms. Pénicaud on Wednesday on RTL, before stressing that she “immediately triggered an internal and external audit”.

“There was then a general inspection that confirmed that there had indeed been an error and that I had taken the right measures,” she concluded, refuting any attempt to stifle the ” case.

According to Le Canard enchaîné, the cost of the operation carried out by Havas for Business France, without tender, would have been 381,759 euros, of which 100,000 euros for hotel costs.

As part of the preliminary investigation, particularly for favoritism, the offices of Business France and Havas were searched on 20 June.

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