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French Culture Minister Loses Appeal On Passive Corruption Probe

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The investigative office of the Paris Appeals Court has rejected a request by the lawyers of French Culture Minister Rachida Dati for an end to prosecution procedures related to the Carlos Ghosn affair.

In charges dating back to 2021, Dati is under investigation for payments totalling $950k (€900K) that she is alleged to have received between 2010 and 2012 from a subsidiary of the French and Japanese Renault-Nissan automobile alliance, when it was under fallen automobile tycoon Ghosn’s leadership.

She is charged with “passive corruption by a person who at the time was holding an elective mandate” and “benefiting from abuse of power” related to allegations that she received the money in exchange for lobbying services at the European Parliament.

Dati, who is a lawyer by profession, was a Member of the European Parliament from 2010 to 2019. She has categorically denied the allegations.

The politician’s lawyers said they would appeal the decision.

“We’re advising Madame Dati to take up the case in the court of cassation because we believe the law is on our side,” Olivier Pardo and Olivier Bluche told press following the ruling.

“This decision does not have any bearing on Madame Dati’s innocence,” they added.

Ghosn – who now lives in Lebanon, having dramatically fled Japan in 2019 where he faced corruption charges related to his time at the head of Nissan – has denied any direct dealings with Dati, saying the fees she received were for legal work.

Dati, who was previously a spokesperson for centre-right President Nicolas Sarkozy during his presidential campaign and was Justice Minister from 2007 to 2009 under his presidency, was appointed as French culture minister in January by centrist Prime Minister Gabriel Attal.

Her appointment took the French culture world by surprise and came just days after Attal had been catapulted into the role of prime minister by President Emmanuel Macron, in a cabinet reshuffle aimed at reinvigorating his flagging presidency.

Since taking on the role, Dati has fallen foul of the state broadcasting sector with her plans for a BBC-style merger of the different units encompassed by public networks France Télévisions and Radio France under one roof.

In the backdrop, her time in the role is coming to an end due to a snap election called by Macron. The far-right Rassemblement National party is currently on track to win the most seats in a second round of voting on July 7, in a development that will sweep the president’s centrist government from power.  



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