The investigation was opened "recently", said one of these sources, and entrusted to the sub-directorate of economic and financial affairs of the Paris judicial police.

The national financial prosecutor's office (PNF), which did not wish to confirm the information, only told AFP that it had received "a divestment from the Paris prosecutor's office".

BFMTV dismissed Rachid M'Barki on February 21 and filed a complaint against X the next day for passive corruption and breach of trust.

The complaint followed an internal investigation opened in January by France's leading news channel.

At issue were suspicions of foreign interference in the work of Mr. M'Barki as presenter of the night news on BFMTV. They targeted a dozen short stories illustrated in pictures, including those relating to Russian oligarchs, Qatar and Western Sahara.

The journalist was then implicated in mid-February in an international investigation by the collective of journalists Forbidden Stories, in which were pointed out the activities of an Israeli company, nicknamed "Team Jorge", specializing in disinformation for the benefit of various customers, including states.

Heard Wednesday by a parliamentary commission of inquiry on foreign interference, Rachid M'Barki said he was the target of "unfair accusations", for his first public speech since his questioning.

He acknowledged that lobbyist Jean-Pierre Duthion, quoted in the Forbidden Stories investigation, was one of his "informants".

Marc-Olivier Fogiel, October 6, 2021 in Paris © Thomas COEX / AFP/Archives

Questioned by the same commission on Thursday, the director general of BFMTV, Marc-Olivier Fogiel, revealed that "Mr. Duthion tried to contact other journalists of BFMTV after the departure of Rachid M'Barki", without this succeeding.

© 2023 AFP