The French Senate asks prosecutors to investigate Macron’s collaborators in the Benalla case

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In a new turn of the Benalla affair, the French Senate asked the judicial authorities to investigate Thursday on three senior officials of Emmanuel Macron on the scandal, including the “right arm” of President Alexis Kohler.

A Senate committee has decided to flag Alexandre Benalla – Macron’s former bodyguard, video footage of which showed beating a protester during a May 1 rally – Patrick Strzoda and Vincent Crase, reservist of the gendarmerie national, on the grounds that they are suspected of concealing the truth when questioned by the parliamentary committee.

Contacted by FRANCE 24, Hélène Conway-Mouret, the Socialist Vice-President of the Senate, confirmed these details. The offense of false testimony is punishable by five years in prison and a fine of € 75,000.

Meanwhile, Alexis Kohler, the secretary general of the presidency, and Lionel Lavergne, the head of presidential security, are accused of having shown “inconsistencies” in their testimony before the Senate committee – which evoke “dysfunctions major ”in the presidency of Macron, a member of the committee told AFP.

“Kohler is Macron’s right hand man,” said Marc Perelman, French policy editor for FRANCE 24. “Some have even said they are so close that Kohler is an extension of Macron’s brain.”

The Senate investigation responds to new findings on Benalla since video footage of his May 1 activities was released by Le Monde in August 2018, Perelman said: “Since then there have been revelations that he was not just a bodyguard, that he was close to Macron, that he obtained diplomatic passports and weapons permits, and that he even dealt with Russian oligarchs while he was at the Élysée.

“The senators said that these three main collaborators did not tell the whole truth about what Benalla was doing and what authorization they gave him to carry out all these kinds of activities,” Perelman continued.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)

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