Paris: Emmanuel Macron is facing a second staff scandal following reports his chauffeur fled police after being caught speeding.
The driver, named only as Stephane P, was allegedly at the wheel of a car from the Elysee fleet, heading towards Versailles, when it was flashed apparently exceeding the speed limit by officers at Saint-Cloud outside Paris.
Police say the vehicle refused to stop but an officer noted the vehicle number plate and the car was traced back to the presidential palace.
The driver, who has been formally accused of “refusal to comply” with police instructions, was identified in February. It was reported he was not on official duty at the time and is no longer working as a presidential chauffeur but is said to have been given another job at the Elysee after a 20-day suspension.
Elysee officials have refused to comment on the case, reported by the investigative website Mediapart, saying a decision on the driver’s future will be taken once he is judged. The hearing is expected in January 2020 when he faces a maximum three-month prison sentence and a fine of up to €3,750 (Dh15,437) if convicted.
The incident is a second embarrassment for Macron, whose Elysee security officer Alexandre Benalla was sacked after he was filmed illegally wearing a police armband and beating up a May Day protester on the fringes of a demonstration a year ago.
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Benalla was eventually sacked, but only after the affair became public — again revealed by Mediapart — amid accusations the Elysee had attempted to cover up the scandal. Benalla has since been charged with illegally using diplomatic passports in a separate investigation.
This weekend it was announced the head of presidential security, Gen Lionel Lavergne, who was questioned in a parliamentary inquiry into the Benalla affair, would leave his post on 18 May.
The Elysee insisted Lavergne’s departure was nothing to do with the scandal and was a promotion.