Thierry Mariani and Yves Pozzo di Borgo were targeted by an investigation for corruption in connection with Russia
The Paris prosecutor’s office is investigating possible corruption and influence peddling in connection with Franco-Russian Dialogue, an association co-chaired by RN MEP Thierry Mariani.
It is one of the most influential political relays of Russia in France that is now in the sights of French justice. According to information from Le Monde, Franco-Russian Dialogue is at the center of two preliminary investigations opened on September 29, 2021 by the Junalco, the division of the Paris prosecutor’s office responsible for the fight against organized crime. This association, created in 2004 under the patronage of Jacques Chirac and Vladimir Putin, brings together French and Russian politicians and businessmen with the stated aim of developing cooperation between the two countries.
These two investigations target Thierry Mariani and Yves Pozzo di Borgo, two of the most active members of the association, known for their public positions in favor of the Kremlin. Mr. Mariani, MEP and regional adviser Rassemblement National (RN), co-chairs since 2012 Franco-Russian Dialogue and openly defends French economic interests in Russia. Mr. Pozzo di Borgo, a former senator and councillor of Paris, ex-member of the centrist party Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI), is also a fervent supporter of Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy.
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The existence of the investigations was confirmed to Le Monde by the Paris prosecutor’s office, which however refused to comment on the identity of the people targeted. “These procedures are still underway and their development is covered by secrecy,” said the prosecutor. According to Le Monde, they have been entrusted to the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption and Financial and Tax Offences (OCLCIFF). The first investigation, which concerns exclusively Mr. Mariani, is based on suspicions of breach of trust and money laundering in connection with the association – that is, possible misappropriation of funds belonging to the association. It has already led to searches. The second, potentially much more explosive, seeks to establish possible corruption and influence peddling in connection with the association, Thierry Mariani and Yves Pozzo di Borgo.
Opened five months before the outbreak of war in Ukraine, these legal proceedings began with a report from the anti-money laundering unit Tracfin in May 2021. It concerns several suspicious financial operations around Franco-Russian dialogue and names several French politicians, including Mr. Mariani and Pozzo di Borgo.