Europe1 .fr with AFP Credits: NICOLAS GUYONNET / HANS LUCAS / HANS LUCAS VIA AFP 14:24 p.m., November 28, 2023

Paris offices of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and the association Régions de France were searched on Monday as part of an investigation into suspicions of "phantom jobs" of relatives of Laurent Wauquiez.

Paris offices of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and the association Regions of France were searched Monday as part of an investigation into "suspicions of phantom jobs" of relatives of the president of the LR region Laurent Wauquiez, said Tuesday a judicial source. Confirming information from the investigation unit Radio France, this source said that searches were "notably" conducted in these two places "in order to collect elements relating to the work performance of these four agents."

The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region confirmed to AFP that it had "naturally welcomed the investigators as they should so that they can take all the necessary steps to establish the activity of the agents of the region who have been unjustly implicated." "It welcomes the diligence of the justice system, which will quickly bring to light the reality of the facts. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region is of course at the complete disposal of the judiciary," the institution added.

An investigation opened in 2020

An investigation, opened in autumn 2020 by the National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) after a report by the Regional Court of Auditors on Laurent Wauquiez's collaborators in the region, had already led to a search in September 2022 at the headquarters of the region In October, the investigation unit of Radio France had pointed the finger at four jobs paid by the regional council and based in Paris, whose missions for the regional executive would be the subject of internal questioning.

Three of these people were reportedly based in the Paris offices of the region, while the fourth was based at the headquarters of the association Régions de France. When the information was leaked in October, Wauquiez said it was "false, erroneous and dishonest information". "I regret that journalists have been instrumentalized," added the potential 2027 presidential candidate.

The regional opposition, for its part, had criticized the use of the region's resources, considered irregular by Mr. Wauquiez, and reported the facts to the Lyon prosecutor's office, which forwarded the report to the PNF, according to the judicial source. The PNF investigation "since September 2020 has been extended to the four situations described in this publication," the source said.