Paris (AFP)

MoDem President Francois Bayrou was indicted Friday evening for "complicity in embezzlement of public funds" in the investigation of assistants of MEPs of the centrist party, it was learned from a judicial source.

"This indictment, announced in advance in newspapers, was decided against all the evidence produced," reacted to AFP Me Pierre Cornut-Gentille, lawyer Bayrou. "The continuation of the instruction will show that it is totally unfounded".

The president of the MoDem, 68, stayed about ten hours in the office of investigating judges Charlotte Bilger, Benedict of Perthuis and Patricia Simon at the Paris court, responding point by point to all the questions put to him, according to concordant sources.

The magistrates seek to determine whether parliamentary assistants, who also worked part-time for the MoDem, actually carried out the tasks financed by European credits or if this assembly was used to fraudulently finance the payroll of the party.

They suspect Mr. Bayrou of being responsible for the whole system allegedly reproached to the centrist party.

"For this, we need instructions", argues the entourage of the politician. "No evidence, no document designates François Bayrou", according to this source.

A dozen leaders of the movement have already been indicted since mid-November in this case, including former MEP Sylvie Goulard, former Minister of Justice Michel Mercier or the party's financial director Alexandre Nardella.

The vice-president of MoDem Marielle de Sarnez, heard on Wednesday, was indicted for "embezzlement of public funds" for the contract of a former assistant. For five other suspect contracts, the judge placed her under the intermediate status of assisted witness.

© 2019 AFP