Article updated at 11h27 with the information on the letter of Alain Gibelin going back on his words.
The spokesman of the Elysée seemed to be categorical, July 19th : after being filmed in the process of committing violence place de la Contrescarpe in Paris on 1st may, Alexander Benalla has seen “notification of a disciplinary sanction. He has been laid off for 15 days with suspension of salary.” “He has been relieved of his duties related to the organization of the safe travel of the president”, added Bruno Roger-Petit. However, it has been shown from this statement that the employee of the Elysee has participated in several events, including a tribute to the team of France of football, in the aftermath of the victory of the Blue. On Monday, the secretary of State Christophe Castaner has raised the possibility that Alexander Benalla has been in charge on this occasion of the “baggage” of footballers. Monday night, during a hearing before the commission of inquiry at the national Assembly, new elements have emerged, suggesting that, even during the sanction period, Alexander Benalla has continued to work for the Elysée palace. The witness eventually claimed to be wrong in the dates.
After the minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb and the Paris police prefect Michel Delpuech, it was the turn of the director of public order and traffic to the prefecture of police of Paris, Alain Gibelin, to explain himself before the deputies. This high official has stated, in particular, thatAlexander Benalla had no authorization from the prefecture to stand alongside police officers on 1st may. Responding to a question from Marine Le Pen, he has also indicated that Alexander Benalla was present in meetings during his suspension period.
In “Le Figaro“, the Elysée has made on Monday evening a “formal denial” to the declarations of Alain Gibelin. “Alexander Benalla has not attended any meeting during the period of suspension”, has ensured a close advisor to the president on a daily basis. According to “The Opinions“, the director is finally back on his statements. In a letter addressed to the chairperson of the Commission of the laws, Yael Braun-Pivet, the officer says be wrong in the dates.
The police officer was not aware of the sanction against Alexander Benalla
Exchange commission had contradicted the version until now defended by the Elysée. Repeatedly questioned by Marine Le Pen, Alain Gibelin had testified to the presence of Alexander Benalla at a meeting between the 2 and 18 may, during which time he was suspended. “It was well understood that there were meetings in advance to prepare the different events in which the president of the Republic has the vocation to travel in Paris, that you weren’t there personally, but that all of your services were present at these meetings. I’d just like to know if there has been a meeting of this type (…) between the 2 and the may 18”, the interviewed Marine Le Pen. “Yes… Very definitely, yes. Yes,” replied Alain Gibelin. “As you’ve told us just now that mr. Benalla was present at all these meetings, it is not clear that one day mr. Benalla was not present at one of the meetings which [would have had] in place between the 2nd and the 18th of may?”, they had urged the mp of the extreme right. “No… I had to say, and I repeat that the sanction taken against mr. Benalla at no time has been given, nor to my knowledge or that of my staff” had confirmed Alain Gibelin. “But you go a little farther in answering my first question. We have understood that nobody was informed of this penalty and you come up with the answer that you just bring to me tell me that this sanction has actually not been applied, because there has been meetings between the 2 and the 18 and mr. Benalla was present with your services”, was re-launched Marine Le Pen. “Listen… yes,” was answered simply by the director.
In his first revelations, “The World” had published a letter of the chief of staff of Emmanuel Macron, Patrick Strzoda, referring to the sanctions against Alexander Benalla. “Your behavior has been detrimental to the exemplarity that is to be expected, in all circumstances, agents of the presidency of the Republic. As a result, I have decided to suspend you from your duties, effective may 4, 2018, for a period of fifteen days. You return to your duties on may 19, 2018”, was it written. Patrick Strzoda must be heard by the commission of inquiry on Tuesday at 16: 30.
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