“Lying before a commission, especially when you are a minister, is not admissible”, the lawyer for the family of Samuel Paty charges Marlène Schiappa

The senators’ report on the Marianne Fund, the fund created after the assassination of Samuel Paty aimed at financing the promotion of secularism, overwhelms Marlène Schiappa who, for her part, claims not to have intervened. “Obviously she intervened. It’s completely established,” said Samuel Paty’s family lawyer on Friday.

“Lying in front of a commission, especially when you are a minister, is not acceptable”, denounced Friday, July 7, Maître Virginie Le Roy, lawyer for the family of Samuel Paty, while Marlène Schiappa is being beaten by the Senate Commission of Inquiry into her management of the Marianne Fund. The latter was launched two years ago to finance counter-speech to radical Islam after the assassination of Samuel Paty.

>> Marianne Fund: what to remember from the report of the Senate commission of inquiry, which denounces the “drift of a political coup” by Marlène Schiappa

The words of the report sound like an indictment: “Fiasco”, “casualty”, “opacity”“We took advantage of the assassination of Samuel Paty for political communication”, denounced the lawyer. Marlène Schiappa claimed before the Commission that she had not intervened in the choice of candidate associations to receive subsidies: “Obviously she intervened. It’s completely established”assures Maître Virginie Le Roy.

franceinfo: What is your reaction to the report of the Senate committee?

Maître Virginie Le Roy: It is a reaction of consternation. I wrote very early to Marlène Schiappa for explanations and an answer which was not one. Verbiage without any interest. I followed the work of the committee with great attention. The report is consistent with what we observed, that is to say explanations that are not. And then, a positioning, again, which is appalling because she does not take her responsibilities. The words of the commission are very harsh: “opacity”, “amateurism” and many more. Works that are marked as insignificant. This is the case for certain associations that are pointed out. The conclusion that we can draw from this is that we took advantage of the assassination of Samuel Paty for political communication. This is what is very serious.

Do you have the impression that the death of Samuel Paty has been politically instrumentalized in this affair?

We can not draw other conclusions, obviously that it was exploited. I remember Marlène Schiappa announcing the creation of this fund on the morning show of BFMTV with a great publicity stunt. Of course we welcomed the creation of this fund. Obviously, work in this direction is essential. The death of Samuel Paty is a cataclysm. We have to react to that, but certainly not like that.

Is it because this Marianne fund has not been followed up with any conclusive effect that you consider that there is instrumentalization?

The initial approach is salutary, of course, but we cannot say that the approach is sincere. On the other hand, very early on, we notice that in reality, it is an instrumentalization to place so and so and that there is no real work built, followed with a real work behind. When you see, for example, the materials provided by Mohamed Sifaoui, to name just him, it’s appalling. There is no background. These are 30 second to one minute videos without any background.

>> Who is Mohamed Sifaoui, at the heart of the Marianne fund affair?

The Senate report says that there was an active role of the cabinet of Marlène Schiappa in the selection of associations. Yet the minister said she never intervenes. There is a contradiction?

Yes, totally. But anyway, the senators were not fooled. There were exchanges of documents and some indeed prove the intervention of Marlène Schiappa even before the launch of the project and the selection process. So of course she intervened. It’s completely established.

Should she be prosecuted for lying to the commission?

It’s not for me to say. We’ll see. I find that, in fact, the attitude is inadmissible. Lying before a commission, especially since when one is a minister, it is not admissible. Afterwards, the competent authorities will see what action to take. She is a bit caught in the jam jar. Everyone who has followed the work of the commission has seen its discomfort.

The National Financial Prosecutor’s Office opened a judicial investigation at the beginning of May for suspicions, in particular of embezzlement of public funds. What do you expect from this procedure?

Let’s go further in the investigations. There is this embezzlement of public funds, but there is also a suspicion of favouritism. We must go further. It’s an example. He is unhappy, he is appalling. It is also very damaging to the fight against terrorism and against radicalization. We have to make an example of it now so that it doesn’t happen again. The penal sequence is a logical sequence. Investigating judges need to get to the bottom.

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