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French banking head subject of corruption inquiry

Latest update : 2009-04-02

A preliminary inquiry by French anti-corruption police into President Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to name a senior aide to head a major new banking group has begun. Two anti-corruption campaign groups complained about a possible conflict of interest.

AFP - French anti-corruption police on Wednesday began a preliminary enquiry into President Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to name a senior aide to head a major new banking group, a legal source said.

The Paris prosecutor's office ordered the probe after complaints by two anti-corruption campaign groups about the appointment last month of Francois Perol to head the Caisse d'Epargne/Banque Populaire banking group.

They accuse Perol of having a conflict of interest because he oversaw the government side of negotiations on creating the newly-merged group, France's second biggest bank.

If convicted, Perol faces up to five years in prison and a 75,000-euro (100,000-dollar) fine.

Opposition politicians accused Sarkozy of seeking to monopolise economic power by naming Perol, his former deputy chief of staff and economic policy advisor, to the top job.

The head of a French state ethics panel said that the panel considered resigning over the nomination.
 

Date created : 2009-04-02

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