Michel Mercier, who has never sat in the European Parliament but was MoDem Treasurer until 2009, was indicted on Wednesday 20 November by the investigating judges charged with investigating alleged uses. fictitious assistants of MEPs MoDem, for "complicity in embezzlement of public funds," said a judicial source. The former minister is implicated for having served as a "third party payer" which was to pay the salaries of assistants of MEPs, according to a source close to the file. "We did not judge work, we did not have authority over employees, we were only payers, that's all," he told investigators of the anti-corruption office in Nanterre on 9 July.
About fifteen people summoned, François Bayrou expected December 6
In all, the judges of the financial center of the Paris court summoned some fifteen people, including MEPs and party officials, to indict them. The hearings, led by Judge Charlotte Bilger, began on 15 November with a first indictment, that of the financial director of MoDem Alexandre Nardella, accused of "complicity in embezzlement of public funds" and "concealment".
The interrogations will be staggered until December 6, when MoDem President François Bayrou is expected at the Paris court, according to sources close to the case. Marielle de Sarnez, MEP from 1999 to 2017 and number two of the centrist party, and Sylvie Goulard, MP from 2009 to 2017 and currently Deputy Governor of the Banque de France, must be auditioned in early December.
The magistrates seek to ascertain whether parliamentary associates were paid by European Parliament funds when in fact they were assigned to other tasks for the centrist party. The opening of a preliminary investigation by the Paris prosecutor's office in June 2017 led to the resignation of François Bayrou from the post of Minister of Justice, as well as those of Marielle de Sarnez from the post of Minister of European Affairs and Sylvie Goulard of the post of Minister of the Armies. Michel Mercier, 72, has been involved since 2017 in another alleged fictitious employment case, this time concerning the employment of one of his daughters and his wife. The preliminary inquiry is still in the hands of the national financial prosecutor.