• Finally authorized to publish its new investigation into the "political methods" of Gaël Perdriau, Mediapart reveals how the mayor of Saint-Etienne used the rumor to oust or threaten his political opponents.

  • We learn that during a work meeting in November 2017, he openly accused the president of the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region Laurent Wauquiez of child crime.

  • The latter announced that he was going to file a complaint for defamation even if the elected official has since recognized that his "comments were rude and unfounded".

His reaction was quick.

As soon as Mediapart was finally authorized to publish new revelations on the "political methods" of Gaël Perdriau, Laurent Wauquiez announced in the process that he was going to file a complaint against the elected representative of Saint-Etienne for defamation.

The reason ?

The investigation reveals that the mayor of Saint-Etienne knowingly spread a rumor in 2017 concerning him and accusing him of being a child criminal.

I never imagined that an elected representative of the Republic could fall into such indignity.

Even if the person concerned was led to admit his abject lie, I seized the judicial authority and lodged a complaint for defamation against Mr. Perdriau.


— Laurent Wauquiez (@laurentwauquiez) November 30, 2022

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The scene takes place on November 27, 2017, in the mayor's office at the town hall of Saint-Etienne.

Gilles Artigues, former first deputy, is present.

The discussion is tense.

The mayor and his chief of staff reproach him for his lack of loyalty.

They threaten to broadcast a compromising video, shot three years earlier in a Parisian hotel room and in which we see him in the company of an escort boy.

A sextape blackmail revealed by


having also broadcast the sound recordings of this work meeting.

“There were… little boys in supermarket parking lots”

During this conversation recorded discreetly by Gilles Artigues, the exchanges end up deflecting on Laurent Wauquiez, the LR president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

Gaël Perdriau sees him as an opponent likely to overshadow him on the national level since he is seeking the presidency of the Republicans at the time.

Furious, the mayor of Saint-Etienne accuses his deputy of having "acted behind his back" for going to a party organized by the boss of the region.

Faced with the denials of his right arm, he raises his voice.

Becomes threatening.

“You lie, you lie, you went to play the rooster.

There were people around, whom I saw.

You went to the rooster saying: “How could we both fuck Perdriau?”… “, he gets carried away.

Gilles Artigues defends himself: “Wauquiez, I knew him long before you when he was a trainee at Ysingeaux…” “And he was going s… to the parking lot of the little boys' supermarkets…”, brutally interrupts Gaël Perdriau.

Comments “made in the private context”

Five years later, the person admitted to Mediapart that his accusations were only “pure slander”, indicates the news site.

"These remarks are rude and unfounded, but made in the private and restricted setting of my office, in a moment of extreme tension with my first deputy", defends the elected official.

He explains that he could not bear that Laurent Wauquiez could say that there were "lost quarters of France" in Saint-Etienne.

Made aware of this rumor, the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region replied in stride on Twitter.

“I did not imagine that an elected representative of the Republic could fall into such indignity, cowardly Laurent Wauquiez.

Even if the person concerned was led to recognize his abject lie, I seized the judicial authority and lodged a complaint for defamation against Gaël Perdriau.


The mayor of Saint-Etienne had taken legal action to prevent the publication of these new revelations.

“After 12 days of censorship”, Mediapart was finally authorized this Wednesday to broadcast its investigation.


Sextape blackmail in Saint-Etienne: Mayor Gaël Perdriau will not resign in the event of indictment


“Mediapart” case: A bill to protect the press

  • Gael Perdriau

  • Laurent Wauquiez

  • Defamation

  • child crime

  • Saint Etienne

  • Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

  • Lyons