Paris (AFP)

François Bayrou and Marielle de Sarnez have been heard since Wednesday morning by the judicial police in connection with the case of allegedly fictitious jobs of the assistants of europarliamentaires MoDem, told AFP several sources close to the case.

The president of the centrist party and the former MEP are heard under the free hearing in the premises of the Central Office for combating corruption and financial and fiscal offenses (Oclciff) in Nanterre, said these same sources, while Sylvie Goulard, former MEP and new French EU commissioner, was heard on Tuesday in the same case.

Free hearing, unlike custody, takes place without coercion.

The court is asking whether MEPs' staff have been paid by the European Parliament's public funds while they were assigned to tasks for the centrist party.

After a preliminary investigation by the Paris prosecutor's office in March 2017, targeting around 20 MEPs from all sides, followed by an investigation against MoDem, a judicial investigation against X, entrusted to Parisian investigating judges, was opened in July 2017 for " breach of trust, concealment of breach of trust and scams ".

The case had led Sylvie Goulard, Marielle de Sarnez and Francois Bayrou to resign from the government, less than a month after their appointment.

After a search of the party in autumn 2017 and that of a former assistant to Ms. Goulard, Stéphane Thérou, last April, the case had a rebound last week, after Emmanuel Macron chose Ms. Goulard as new French European Commissioner.

His entourage then confirmed press reports, according to which Sylvie Goulard had repaid 45,000 euros gross in the European Parliament, corresponding to the salaries and expenses of Stéphane Thérou, said a source close to the French judicial investigation.

On 30 August, the European Parliament closed the deal without specifying the amount of the reimbursement.

On Tuesday, Goulard was first heard by Oclciff's investigators, just as she was appointed European Commissioner for the "Internal Market", before the concurrent hearings of Marielle de Sarnez and François Bayrou on Wednesday.

"Finally, we will be able to exchange and prove, highlight the facts and make public the truth," said Wednesday to AFP a member of the leadership of MoDem, Sarah El Haïry, according to which "now, we will have the opportunity to respond, we will be able to move forward ".

© 2019 AFP