This investigation, which “aims to verify the validity of the elements published in the press”, was opened for embezzlement of public funds, breach of trust and concealment of these offenses, said Tuesday the PNF, confirming information from BFM TV.

Asked by AFP, the deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes had not reacted at midday. His ex-wife, contacted by telephone, said for her part “stunned by this story” but “does not wish to react”.

In its edition last Wednesday, the Canard enchaîné affirmed that the former wife of Mr. Ciotti, Caroline Magne, had accumulated various jobs with the deputy or with political allies: press officer for Christian Estrosi, in 2007 she became parliamentary attaché to Éric Ciotti when he was elected to the Assembly, in addition to a job at the Departmental Council of the Alpes-Maritimes where she “extended her skills” when her husband took over as president in 2008.

The article also reveals that she held a position of deputy director at the town hall of Nice before joining the steering team of the urban community, exercising these responsibilities until 2011.

Questioned by AFP, the town hall of Nice indicated that it did not wish “to speak”.

At the Assembly, her contract ended in 2016 but she also, between 2014 and 2016, exercised responsibilities in the town of La Colle-sur-Loup, and had a job in the diocese of Nice between 2012 and 2014, according to the chained Duck.

After the publication of this article, the deputy, candidate for the presidency of his party, said he was “basely attacked” and explained that he had employed Caroline Magne as a “very part-time” parliamentary collaborator and “in strict compliance with the laws and regulations”.

“In both cases, the accumulation of activity never exceeded 44 hours per week,” he said in a press release, ensuring that his job “in the constituency” reached “5:25 a week”. As for the one at the town hall of La-Colle-sur-Loup, “the weekly working time has never exceeded 9 hours per week”, he specified.

According to Liberation, Caroline Magne was paid in 2008 and 2009 nearly 20,000 euros per year for her job as a collaborator of Mr. Ciotti in the National Assembly. Its income would have increased from 51,700 euros gross per year in 2007 in total to 94,500 euros in 2009, the newspaper also writes.

The daily also affirms that “there was no, in the individual file of Caroline Magne, a request for authorization of accumulation granted by the city of Nice, as the law requires”. In the newspaper, the person concerned replied that having already obtained the authorization to combine when she was in the department, she did not need to renew it, having “not changed employer” by following Estrosi to the town hall from Nice.

– Campaign hit –

The announcement of this investigation comes in the middle of the campaign for the presidency of LR, a ballot for which Eric Ciotti, Senator Bruno Retailleau and MP Aurélien Pradié compete.

Under the slogan “The right to the heart”, the deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes, 56, who was a finalist in the LR primary for the last presidential election, represents a security and identity line. He appears to be the favorite in the ballot which is due to take place on December 3 and 4 and, if necessary, the following week for a second round.

In 2017, the then LR presidential candidate, François Fillon, had seen his career explode with the “Penelopegate”, this case of allegedly fictitious jobs which took the name of his wife, revealed by the Canard enchaîné.

François Fillon was sentenced on appeal in May to four years in prison, including one year in prison, a fine of 375,000 euros and ten years of ineligibility and his wife to two years in prison suspended, a fine of 375,000 euros and two years in prison. ineligibility. They appealed in cassation.

On Twitter, the former national secretary of EELV David Cormand quipped: “No doubt, Éric Ciotti will be the next President of the