In the middle of the presidential campaign, four years after the opening of the investigation into Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s campaign accounts, the association L’Ere du peuple, which was the candidate’s service provider during his 2017 campaign, was put in examination on February 3, 2022 for the charges of forgery, use of forgery, fraud and “aggravated attempted fraud”, learned The world Wednesday March 23. This confirms information given the day before by Mediapart, also confirmed to Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Initially, in March 2021, the Parisian investigating judges had only indicted the association for “illegal loan of labor” and had granted it the more favorable status of assisted witness for the main violations of the investigation, relating to suspicions of fraud and overbilling. But after a series of new hearings and acts of investigation, they decided to aggravate the charges against the association.
Investigation open since 2018
The investigating judges have been looking into this case since November 2018. The non-profit association founded in 2015 by followers of Mr. Mélenchon to ensure the logistics of the meetings of the candidate La France insoumise (LFI), had invoiced 440,027 euros to the candidate for the rental of rooms or computer equipment and the intellectual services of its four employees, including the deputies Bastien Lachaud, already indicted, and Mathilde Panot, elected in 2017 in the Hemicycle.
The National Commission for Campaign Accounts and Political Financing had noted a difference of 152,688 euros between the salaries paid to deputies and the amounts invoiced for their services to the agent. According to Mediapart, this allowed the association to generate a margin of 66% and 59% for the two deputies mentioned. Responsible for validating the reimbursement of candidates’ expenses with public money, the commission then refused to reimburse this margin made by L’Ere du peuple and reported the facts to justice.
Contacted by AFP, neither Bernard Pignerol, president of L’Ere du peuple, nor Mathieu Croizet, his lawyer, were available to react. Candidate for the presidential election of 2022, Jean-Luc Mélenchon disputes any infringement both in this investigation and in the judicial investigation, still in progress, concerning the suspicions of fictitious employment of parliamentary assistants by LFI in the European Parliament.