Benalla risks trial over diplomatic passports
Disgraced bodyguard of President Emmanuel Macron, Alexandre Benalla admitted he was using his diplomatic passports, “for personal comfort”, and plans to return “in the coming days,” he told the Journal du Dimanche (JDD), while the Paris prosecutor’s office opened investigation.
“The #Benalla cases do not just reveal a malfunction, but a denaturing of our Republic. Emmanuel #Macron has spoiled so much in so little time“, Marine Le Pen wrote in her Twitter micro blog.
“I may have been wrong to use these passports, “Alexandre Benalla told the JDD via telephone from abroad.”But I did it only for personal comfort, to facilitate my passage through the airports. In no way did I use them for my business. I do not see where they could have served me”.
Previously Benalla said to another French media that his visit to Chad ahead of the presidential visit was a “coincidence“.
Benalla added in the same conversation to the JDD that he had returned the passports to the Élysée’s services at the end of August but then they were returned to him with other personal belongings in a pocket, in early October, by a “member of the presidency” during an appointment near the presidential palace.
“As far as they were returned, I did not see any reason not to use them,” he explains. He claims he did not lie to the Senate inquiry when he said he had left his passports in his former Elysée office.
A few hours earlier, the Paris prosecutor had announced the opening of a preliminary investigation for “breach of trust” and “use without right of a document justifying a professional quality”.
The Paris public prosecutor, Rémy Heitz, has addressed the Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, after press reports about a trip to Africa by the former aide to the presidency with these passports.
The presidency had pleaded ignorance this week: it said it had “no information from the State services concerned the use by Mr Benalla of the diplomatic passports that had been awarded to him in the exclusive framework of his services to the President of the Republic
“. “They are mocking us”, writes French author Oliver Marteau in his Twitter.
“➡️ Any passport can be canceled by the authorities at any time without being physically returned.
➡️ At the 1st crossing of the border the owner of the passport is stopped.
➡️ The authority has knowingly left #Benalla to use these 2 passports” he explains.
French newspaper Le Monde has discovered new details on Benalla voyage to Chad. The former bodyguard of the President Emmanuel Macron arrived to Chad few days ahead of Emmanuel Macron‘s trip.
Benalla travlled by private plane, stayed in a luxury hotel, and his trip did not pass unnoticed, explains Le Monde. A source in the newspaper said that the former “security adviser” to the President, indicted for “willful violence” arrived accompanied by half a dozen people, by private plane, paying fees by Credit cards”.
Fired from Elysée after the national scandal when disguised as policeman he was beating demonstrators, Alexandre Benalla traveled to N’Djamena the beginning of December for a brief stay, before leaving by regular airline on 4 December. He reportedly met the brother of Chad‘s President, Oumar Déby, who leads the country’s Directorate-General for Strategic Reserves (DGRS) in charge of arms purchases, according to La Lettre du Continent. Afterward, a loan of €40 million and a donation of €10 million were granted by the Elysee to Chad so that the regime can pay the salary of civil servants for the month of December, it was said.