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    Emmanuel Macron, center, flanked by his bodyguard, Alexandre Benalla, left, visits the Agriculture Fair in Paris, Wednesday, March 1, 2017

    Prosecutors Probe Illegal Use of Diplomatic Passport by Ex-Macron Aide - Reports

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The public prosecutor's office in Paris has launched a preliminary investigation into the alleged illegal use of diplomatic passports by French president's former security aide, Alexandre Benalla, Le Monde newspaper reported on Saturday.

    According to the outlet, the preliminary investigation was launched on Saturday. Among other things, the former employee of the presidential administration is charged with "abuse of trust" and improper use of a supporting document.

    On Thursday, media reported that Benalla had allegedly used a diplomatic passport on business trips to Africa after dismissal from the presidential office. The French Foreign Ministry considered such actions to be illegal and Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian decided to contact to prosecutors.

    Earlier it was reported that the French Foreign Ministry sent letters to Benalla on July 26 and September 10 with the request to return two diplomatic passports.

    A scandal involving Benalla broke out in July after a video emerged capturing Macron's aide in riot police gear during a May Day demonstration, first tackling a young woman and then lashing out at a young man. After the video emerged, Benalla claimed that he was helping the police to deal with aggressive protesters.

    In July, the prosecutor's office launched a preliminary investigation into the incident, with separate probes having been launched by the French National Police General Inspectorate and special parliamentary commissions established in the French lower and upper houses.

    READ MORE: Disgraced Macron Aide Says He Was 'More Like Theater Director Than Bodyguard'

    Benalla has been charged with multiple offences, including violent acts, interfering in the work of public services, wearing an official insignia without authorization, concealing video materials and breaching professional secrecy. The former security aide, in turn, has said that he considered his actions during the demonstration legitimate, claiming that he tried to help the police officers cope with offenders.


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    investigation, probe, Alexandre Benalla, Emmanuel Macron, France
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