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French prosecutor opens preliminary investigations over Benalla affair

French prosecutor opens preliminary investigations over Benalla affair
Alexandre Benalla, French President Emmanuel Macron's former senior security officer, leaves after a hearing by senators from France's upper house at the Senate in Paris, France, January 21, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau   -   Copyright  CHARLES PLATIAU(Reuters)
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PARIS (Reuters) – The Paris prosecutor has opened a preliminary investigation into alleged perjury related to the so-called “Benalla scandal” involving former and current officials from President Emmanuel Macron’s administration.

The prosecutor did not make clear in its statement who was targeted by the investigation.

However, it said it had opened the probe at the request of the Senate, where lawmakers had suspicions about statements made under oath there by Alexandre Benalla, Macron’s ex-security aide, Vincent Crase, a former staffer Macron’s party, Patrick Strzoda, Macron’s chief of staff.

The Senate had also flagged Alexis Kohler, the presidency’s top official, as well as Lionel Lavergne, the head of his security staff, to the prosecutor’s office for having “withheld information” from a parliamentary investigation.

(Reporting by Michel Rose and Emmanuel Jarry; Editing by Leigh Thomas)

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