Macron’s right-hand man investigated over his ties to MSC

In a long running investigation, prosecutors in France have said they will pursue Alexis Kohler, Emmanuel Macron’s chief of staff, over a conflict of interest case relating to his alleged links with Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC).

Splash first reported on the investigation four years ago. The transparency campaign group Anticor launched a lawsuit in 2018 after the French investigative website Mediapart revealed that Kohler had family links to MSC, which has been a major user of French shipyards for cruiseship construction.

Kohler’s mother is a cousin of Rafaela Aponte, whose husband Gianlugi founded MSC in 1970. Mediapart has claimed that Kohler, while working for the finance ministry earlier in his career, hid his family links to MSC from the parliamentary ethics commission.

Mediapart also alleged that after leaving the finance ministry and becoming an executive of MSC in 2016, Kohler took part in at least one ministry meeting to discuss the fate of a STX, a French state-supported shipbuilding company.

Macron’s office and lawyers representing Kohler have repeatedly denied the president’s right-hand man has done anything wrong.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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