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French traffic chief caught in speeding fine scandal

AFP

Police in France have launched an investigation into reports that the chief of an agency that processes traffic fines used department funds to pay 700 euros for his own fines and abused his position to avoid losing points on his driver’s license.

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French police are investigating reports that the head of an agency that processes traffic violations used his department’s budget to pay almost 700 euros ($950) worth of his own fines.

Investigative website Mediapart on Monday claimed Jean-Jacques Debacq, the chief of the ANTAI agency that processes tickets issued by speed cameras, had amassed fines on his Peugeot 508 service vehicle that were paid for by his department between the end of 2010 and summer 2013.

Mediapart said the fines related to about a dozen traffic violations and alleged that Debacq also used his position to avoid losing points on his driver's licence.

The interior ministry said it had launched an investigation but that Debacq was not yet facing disciplinary action.

"The facts reported in the press are serious. We must shed every light on this matter and establish the truth," interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told AFP.

But at ANTAI, there was no pointing fingers. “Several people from the agency drive the vehicle in question,” an unnamed spokesperson told French daily Le Figaro.

Mediapart said more than half of the traffic violations paid for by Debacq's department were for speeding, with the rest related to parking offences.

The majority of infractions were committed in the evening and during the weekend, when Debacq did not have a chauffeur at his disposal and therefore used a company vehicle.

Debacq has been at the head of ANTAI since April 2011.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

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