French investigators probe use of consulting firms in presidential elections


French President Emmanuel Macron faces possible legal problems after prosecutors announced on Thursday they were investigating the use of management consulting firms during elections in 2017 and 2022.

A statement from the National Financial Prosecutors' Office did not name Macron's campaign specifically. However, the French president's election team is believed to be the main target of two separate probes.

The headline in daily newspaper Le Monde is categorical: "McKinsey affair: the role of the consulting company in Macron's presidential campaigns at the centre of two legal investigations".

The use of consultants came under the spotlight in March following an investigation by the French Senate, which concluded that public spending on consultants had more than doubled from 2018-2021 during Macron's first term.

Total outlays reached more than a billion euros last year, a figure frequently cited by Macron's opponents during his successful bid for a second term this April.

The investigative news website Mediapart has reported that consultants from the US-based McKinsey group worked for free on Macron's campaign in 2017.

Let justice do its work independently

The president says "it is up the justice system to complete these investigations in full independence."

The prosecutors' office said that two probes had been underway since October into the use of consultants during the 2017 and 2022 elections.

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