France’s justice minister refuses to resign after being indicted for influence peddling

France’s Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti has refused Tuesday to resign after being charged with influence peddling, charges that have also been levied against the secretary general of the French Presidency, Alexis Kohler, considered the “right-hand man” of the French president, Emmanuel Macron.

The also called ‘Keeper of the Seals’, the title by which the Minister of Justice is known in France, has been accused of making use of his position to take measures against magistrates with whom he had differences when he was a lawyer.

However, Dupond-Moretti has assured that his resignation is “not on the agenda” despite a court threatening to put him in the dock. “The Prime Minister reaffirmed yesterday the confidence placed in me,” he said, referring to the words of the Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne.

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The Court of Justice of the Republic, a special court charged with trying ministers and senior government officials for crimes or misconduct performed during their term of office, has ordered him to stand trial, which would make him the first justice minister to be held accountable before such a court.

His lawyers, Christophe Ingrain and Rémi Lorrain, have assured that they have “immediately” filed an appeal for cassation, according to information from the newspaper ‘Le Figaro’.

Their case joins that of Kohler, who has also been charged with influence peddling. In 2010 and 2011, the secretary general of the Elysée Palace approved contracts for the Italian-Swiss shipowner MSC, founded and run by cousins of his mother. Kohler was then a member of the supervisory board and had not reported these family relationships with MSC.

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