French Justice Minister Dupond-Moretti under investigation for conflict of interest

Dupond-Moretti stands accused of abusing his position as minister to settle scores with opponents from his legal career
Dupond-Moretti stands accused of abusing his position as minister to settle scores with opponents from his legal career © Ludovic Marin, AFP/File

French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti has been put under formal investigation in connection with a judicial investigation into alleged conflicts of interest, his lawyers said on Friday.

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They said they will contest the procedure. Olivier Cousi, one of his lawyers, said on BFM TV that Dupond-Moretti had no reason to resign as he is presumed to be innocent.

He will stay in government despite the investigation, Prime Minister Jean Castex said.

Dupond-Moretti, a celebrity lawyer, was named minister by President Emmanuel Macron one year ago with a brief to reform the justice system.

Castex said in a statement that "he renews his confidence in him."

President Emmanuel Macron also backed the minister earlier on Friday. He told reporters during a visit to the Tour de France that Dupond-Moretti "had the same rights as all other citizens," including that to be presumed to be innocent and defend his rights, French media including Le Monde said.

Dupond-Moretti was questioned for hours on Friday by the Cour de Justice de La Republique, a special court that deals with complaints against serving ministers.

In January, the court launched an investigation after an anti-corruption group and three magistrates' unions filed conflict of interest complaints against Dupond-Moretti.

Dupond-Moretti has said the unions were using the allegations of conflict of interest to block his reforms.

Under French law, a formal investigation means there is evidence implicating a suspect, but it does not amount to being charged.

The person can be charged at a later date if further evidence emerges against them, or the investigation can be dropped.

(REUTERS)

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