Political blackmail in Saint-Etienne: Boisterous municipal council for Gaël Perdriau

Political blackmail in Saint-Etienne: Boisterous municipal council for Gaël Perdriau

‘Broken trust treaty’, ‘lies’, ‘smoke’, ‘disgusting climate’, ‘shame’… The Mayor LR of Saint-Etienne Gaël Perdriau on Monday chaired a boisterous local council amid vicious attacks by opposition politicians related to the political blackmail case over sex tapes that has rocked the city for a month.

“This story aims to destroy me,” said the 50-year-old elected official, visibly tense, at the opening of the debates before his community meeting in front of an audience and numerous media outlets.

“The manhunt is underway (…) some do not have the patience to wait for the judiciary to do its job (…) the temptation is too great to try to take down a man caught in a media storm who everything shattered,” he said in a heavy silence.

The city of 175,000 has been rocked since late August by this intimate video affair, which sparked a blackmail suit from former centrist first MP Gilles Artigues – who stayed away from Monday’s debates “on the advice of his doctor,” the centrist adviser underscored.

The mayor of Saint-Etienne Gaël Perdriau speaks during a municipal council on September 26, 2022 (AFP – OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE)

For two hours, the left wing elected officials (12 out of 59 seats) and one of the four elected officials of the UDI spoke out to try to persuade the mayor, elected since 2014, to resign while his majority remained silent, preferring “ not to comment” on a case under investigation.

“Every day that passes damages our city and feeds the soil of + everything rotten +,” worried Pierrick Courbon, leader of the left. “True false starts are not enough,” he said.

“They no longer have any moral legitimacy,” the communist accused Michel Nebout and accused Gaël Perdriau of “hanging on to his post”.

“Path! ….. They had called for the resignation of François Fillon”, without waiting for the outcome of the judicial investigation when the right-wing presidential candidate of 2017 was mired in allegations of nepotism and corruption, “Why not apply it to yourself?”, added the centrist Lionel Boucher.

The left community group and then the two elected communists walked out one by one, refusing to take part in the deliberations.

– “Taking leave” –

The scandal prompted Mayor LR last week to sack his chief of staff and subsequently relinquish his representative functions in the city and metropolis, while one of his deputies, accused of filming a compromising video to politically neutralize Mr Artigues, his offered resignation.

Demonstration in front of Saint-Etienne town hall on September 26, 2022 to demand the resignation of Mayor Gaël Perdriau (AFP - OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE)
Demonstration in front of Saint-Etienne town hall on September 26, 2022 to demand the resignation of Mayor Gaël Perdriau (AFP – OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE)

The three men were taken into police custody in mid-September following the confessions of a former close friend of City Hall at the Mediapart site, who accused the mayor and his entourage of fomenting this “barbouzage de manners” by paying him through welfare payments. fictitious invoice to two cultural associations subsidized by the town hall.

On Monday, the mayor reiterated that he had “never had, never seen, never used” this video, in which we see Gilles Artigues being massaged by a man in a hotel room in Paris in January 2015, to condemn me and the not respecting the presumption of innocence,” he said to the opposition.

However, its image was tarnished by scathing audio recordings broadcast by Mediapart and frequently quoted by opposition politicians during debates. According to Mediapart, in a July 2018 conversation, Gaël Perdriau talks to his former first deputy about this video, referring to a broadcast “in a small circle, with thrift”. “Once it’s on the networks, it’s not blackmail, it’s execution,” he said in another November 2017 recording, according to Mediapart.

Demonstration in front of Saint-Etienne town hall on September 26, 2022 to demand the resignation of Mayor Gaël Perdriau (AFP - OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE)
Demonstration in front of Saint-Etienne town hall on September 26, 2022 to demand the resignation of Mayor Gaël Perdriau (AFP – OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE)

The city council was held when around 150 protesters, including union activists, demonstrated loudly outside City Hall demanding the resignation of the mayor. A group of Stéphanois “who want to fight it out” also organized a “launch party” for him at the end of the day.

For its part, the association “Pink Triangle” calls for denouncing the “disgusting environmental climate” by denouncing “attacks, insults and rumors” related to people’s sexual orientation.

Reference: www.challenges.fr

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