Macron aides grilled in scathing Senate report on 'Benalla affair'


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Releasing its long-awaited report on Wednesday, the French Senate committee investigating the so-called “Benalla affair” demanded a probe into three close aides of President Emmanuel Macron after finding "major flaws" in the government's handling of the case. 

The senators accused the three aides, including Macron's chief of staff, of contradictions in their testimony over the scandal triggered in July by video footage of Benalla roughing up protesters during a May Day rally.

Their report suggested that chief of staff Patrick Strzoda, presidency secretary Alexis Kohler and security chief Lionel Lavergne may have "withheld significant truth" during their testimony and called on prosecutors to look into their statements.

Benalla, who already faces criminal charges, was placed in detention on Tuesday for allegedly breaking the conditions of his bail, his lawyer Jacqueline Laffont said.

The "Benalla affair" sparked a major scandal for Macron, prompting a wave of accusations from opponents that the presidency covered it up.

The former top security aide was fired after the revelations, but officials are worried he may since have been profiting from his former insider status.

Those concerns were heightened late last year when it emerged that he had continued to use diplomatic passports long after his dismissal.

Benalla’s lawyer said she has launched an appeal against her client’s provisional detention.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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