Nanterre (AFP)

His consulting activities in the private sector are considered suspicious by the judges: LREM deputy Thierry Solère, targeted by an instruction in Nanterre, was indicted Friday for tax evasion, embezzlement of public funds and trading in passive influence.

The deputy of Hauts-de-Seine, who has always denied the facts, explained for five days with three judges of instruction of the economic and financial center of Nanterre, responsible for a few months of investigations concerning him.

Following this interrogation, they decided to indict him for seven counts of offenses, including tax evasion, embezzlement of public funds and trading in influence with respect to four companies, for acts that would have taken place between 2003 and 2017, said Friday evening the floor of Nanterre.

"We formally challenge all the reasons for these accusations," reacted to AFP the deputy and his lawyers, Pierre-Olivier Sur, Mathias Chichportich and Jean-Pierre Gastaud. "This case is crazy and now that we finally have access to the file, we will demonstrate it".

Justice is interested in this close to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe since 2016, after a complaint by Bercy for tax evasion that had led to the opening of a preliminary investigation entrusted to the Central Office of fight against corruption and financial offenses and Taxes (OCLCIFF).

The case then took on another dimension: it had been extended to a series of other offenses, including trading in influence. The elected official had been deprived of his parliamentary immunity and was taken into custody in July 2018 - a measure finally lifted for medical reasons.

In February 2019, the investigations were entrusted to investigating judges. Six other people are also concerned since the opening of this judicial information.

- Advice in the private sector -

In this case, the elected official is suspected of tax fraud, particularly for his private consulting activities, which he practiced in parallel with his mandates. He is also suspected of having used his position of elected to favor certain companies for which he worked, so that they obtain public contracts.

The hiring of the wife of a former head of one of these companies as a parliamentary assistant is also of interest to the investigators.

It is this file that earned the former minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas to be sentenced, in late September, to one month suspended prison sentence and 5,000 euros fine. The former Minister of Justice has indeed been found guilty of "breach of professional secrecy", for forwarding to Mr. Solère, in 2017, elements on the investigation.

During the trial of Mr. Urvoas, Thierry Solère, heard as a witness, reaffirmed that he "never" was targeted by a tax investigation "if he had not been the organizer of the primary right and center ". He had after the complaint of Bercy denounced the presence of a "black cabinet at the Elysee".

Mr. Solère, aged 48, has indeed made himself known to the general public by organizing the Republican primary for the 2017 presidential election. He was then spokesman for François Fillon, before leaving with a crash the campaign at the time the revelation of the case concerning the candidate.

After his re-election to the Assembly in 2017, he created with Franck Riester the group of "Constructives" before joining LREM a few months later.

From the beginning, the member has been protesting loud and clear that he has committed some offense. In January, he filed a complaint for "false" indirectly targeting the prosecutor of Nanterre and his superior hierarchical at the time: he believed that the magistrate had based its request for waiver of parliamentary immunity on information it knew wrong. This complaint was dismissed in March.

© 2019 AFP