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French McKinsey investigation widened to cover election campaigns | France

The French financial prosecutor has opened an investigation into the role of consulting groups, including McKinsey, in the 2017 and 2022 French election races, when Emmanuel Macron was elected and then won a second term.

The Financial Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that its current investigation into possible tax fraud by US-based consulting giant McKinsey has been expanded to include potential advisory firms’ involvement in the two election races. Investigators are looking into allegations of “improper retention of campaign accounts”, “minimization of the role of consulting firms” and “nepotism”.

The public prosecutor did not name any politician or party as a target of the investigation, nor did he confirm what was reported in Le Parisien daily that the investigation focused on Macron’s campaign.

The office of the head of the center said that it had taken note of the investigation and that the defendants should do their work “with complete independence”.

Macron came to power promising to clean up politics in France. French presidents enjoy immunity while in office.

An investigation does not necessarily lead to prosecution or an indication of guilt. It could take years before such investigations are suspended or brought to trial.

The Financial Prosecution said, “After several reports and complaints from elected officials and individuals, a judicial investigation was opened on October 20, 2022.”

Just as Macron was running for re-election earlier this year, France’s Senate, which has a right-wing majority, condemned what it called the “sprawling phenomenon” of hiring dozens of private and international firms to advise the government.

The opposition has accused Macron’s government of spending too much on international consultancies that pay little or no tax in France.

The initial McKinsey investigation — dubbed the “McKinsey case” in the French press — began after the Senate alleged in March that the company used a “tax optimization” system through its Delaware-based parent company and was not paying enough corporate taxes. in France.

McKinsey has consistently denied any wrongdoing and said it “respects the French tax rules that apply to it”.

Reuters contributed to this report

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