Alexandre Benalla: Sacked Macron aide held over diplomatic passports

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Alexandre Benalla: Sacked Macron aide held over diplomatic passports

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Alexandre Benalla worked for Mr Macron during his presidential campaign

A sacked aide to French President Emmanuel Macron has been detained over the use of diplomatic passports.

The Paris prosecutor's office said a preliminary inquiry had been opened into Alexandre Benalla's alleged possession of two passports.

He is alleged to have used them despite losing his job as a security officer in Mr Macron's staff in July.

Mr Benalla was sacked by Mr Macron after video emerged of him beating protesters in Paris.

He was placed under investigation for assault and "usurping the functions of a police officer" over the incident, which happened during May Day demonstrations.

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Mr Macron's chief of staff, Patrick Strzoda, told the Senate Law Commission on Wednesday that Mr Benalla had used the passports 20 times between 1 August 2018 and 31 December, France 24 news website reported.

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also said on Wednesday there was "corroborating evidence" that Mr Benalla had used the passports "on many occasions and as early as August".

In December Mr Benalla was officially rebuked for a business trip he made to Chad, in central Africa.

The trip took place three weeks before Mr Macron paid a Christmas visit to troops stationed there.

At the time, the Mediapart investigative website said Mr Benalla had been travelling on diplomatic passports issued in May.

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