French Defense Minister Sylvie Goulard is stepping down amid an investigation into employment contracts at the political party she belongs to, French newspaper Le Monde and other media reported on Tuesday.
Le Monde quoted a statement from Goulard saying that she wished “to be able to freely demonstrate my good faith” if anti-corruption police wanted to verify the employment conditions of the staff she employed as a member of the European Parliament (MEP).
Earlier in June, French prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into allegations that Democratic Movement (Modem) staff had been paid as European Parliament assistants to the party’s MEPs while actually working for the party.
The investigation was triggered by complaints from a former Modem staffer and an MEP for the far-right National Front, as well as press reports.
Modem has said that all its staff were properly and legally employed, and that some of them were in fact working part-time for the party and part-time for its MEPs.
Goulard was an MEP for Modem until she stepped down in May to take up the position of defence minister under President Emmanuel Macron.
The government resigned on Monday to allow Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to appoint a new line-up after parliamentary elections, and Le Monde quoted Goulard as saying she had asked not to be reappointed.
National Front leader Marine Le Pen has also been the subject of allegations that she claimed back salaries from the European Parliament for supposed aides who were actually working for her party.
Le Pen denies the allegations.
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