Emmanuel Macron poses alongside Biden at NATO summit
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Under the French President’s administration, expenses for consulting contracts have more than doubled since he first took power in 2017. US consultancy agency McKinsey is facing Senate scrutiny as it stands accused of not having paid corporate tax in France between 2011 and 2020.
The firm is so far denying any wrongdoing claiming it respected “all the applicable French tax and social rules” and saying that it had paid corporation tax “in the five years when the firm made profits in France”.
And the French Senate’s are not the only eyes on the fallout, as Macron’s political rivals are wading in ahead of a crucial presidential election he is still tipped to win.
National Rally MEP Jordan Bardella said the Senate findings put the President on “the verge of a state scandal”.
He told Sud Radio: “I regret that the McKinsey affair makes so little noise. Over the entire five-year term, Emmanuel Macron and his government have paid almost €3 billion in public money to consulting firms, including €41 million to McKinsey during the management of the Covid.
“The Minister of Public Service lied under oath before the national representation by explaining that spending on consulting firms had not increased.
“However, they exploded under Emmanuel Macron, they have doubled since 2018.
“Light must be shed on this affair. This inter-self, this cronyism must be sanctioned at the ballot box.”
He continued: “This recourse to private firms to have decisions taken in the general interest.
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“We can’t let these people make decisions between themselves, hand over the wheel of the French car to private interests who don’t pay taxes in France and who are American firms.”
Questioned on Wednesday, March 23, over the issue, Macron told French radio RTL that he was “shocked”.
He added: “That the government, that the communities have recourse to firms of experts, that does not shock me.
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“The criterion for me is that it must not come to replace things that we know how to do ourselves and that it is done in a transparent and controllable way.”
Last week, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire also attempted to respond to backlash received over the issue.
He said: “We are going to make sure that McKinsey pays the taxes it owes to France, like all companies.”
The minister added that “all the procedures are already initiated by the Directorate General of Public Finance, McKinsey will pay”.
According to data obtained from the budget ministry, consultancy spending by French ministries amounted to €893.9 million in 2021, compared to €379.1 million in 2018.
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