Macron’s top aide in hot water over MSC corruption allegations

Macron’s top aide in hot water over MSC corruption allegations

Anti-corruption police are investigating allegations that French president Emmanuel Macron’s chief of staff, Alexis Kohler, violated conflict of interest rules in dealings with Mediterranean Shipping Company earlier on his career at the finance ministry.

The transparency campaign group Anticor launched a lawsuit on Friday 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 hid his family links to MSC from the parliamentary ethics commission.

Mediapart also alleges 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.

Macron’s office has said the allegations were “completely unfounded”.

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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