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Fraud police raid Medef HQ

The heaquarters of France’s top employers’ federation are raided as part of an investigation into a missing €19million.

POLICE investigating claims that a business group gave handouts to union officials have raided the headquarters of the country’s top employers’ federation Medef.

A statement from Medef – the French equivalent of Britain’s CBI – said it was “cooperating fully with legal authorities to help them shed light on the UIMM (metal and mining lobby) affair."

The former head of the UIMM, one of the largest and most powerful groups within Medef, Denis Gautier-Sauvagnac is under investigation over the disappearance of €19million over the last eight years. The UIMM has 45,000 members include the carmaker Peugeot Citroen and the nuclear giant Areva.

Gautier-Sauvagnac’s €1.5 million severance package sparked conflict between the two groups, with Medef demanding the metal and mining group give back 100 seats it currently holds on their behalf during government policy talks.

A source close to the inquiry said that investigators were in looking for emails between Medef chief Laurence Parisot and other Medef members concerning the system of UIMM cash withdrawals.

Investigators believe they have stumbled on hidden "war-funds" used by the century-old metals federation to subsidise trade unions and "buy" agreements to end industrial disputes, in an arrangement reaching back decades.

They are also looking into suggestions of illicit political party funding, with the questioning in February of a former intelligence chief who alleged the UIMM helped pay for Valery Giscard d'Estaing's presidential campaign in 1974.

Photo: Medef

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