23:50 GMT +318 December 2018
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    French Minister of Public Action and Accounts Gerald Darmanin leaves the Elysee Palace following the weekly cabinet meeting in Paris, France, January 31, 2018

    French Budget Minister Faces Second Sex Abuse Accusation in Month

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    French prosecutors opened a probe on Tuesday after a woman filed a complaint alleging that he had abused his powers while mayor of Tourcoing in 2015 and 2016.

    French Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin said he had heard about this "new slanderous accusation against me" from the website of Le Point magazine. He denied that he had used his position to ask for sexual favours.

    "I don't know the person or what I'm accused of," he told La Voix du Nord newspaper in a report published on Thursday. "I've done nothing wrong… I'm calm, concentrating on my work as a minister and I have confidence in the justice system."

    Darmanin was questioned by police earlier this month over another allegation that he pressured a former prostitute into sex after she asked for help with a legal problem in 2009.

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    The case against Darmanin on charges of rape was opened on 22 January. This is the second investigation that the police have undertaken on the basis of a personal complaint by the alleged victim.

    The largest opposition party of France, the Republicans, have demanded the resignation of the minister.

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