French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin was questioned Monday by judges investigating an allegation of rape brought against him in 2009.
The minister’s legal team told AFP that Darmanin had appeared for questioning “on his own request”, and that he is currently being questioned as a witness rather than a suspect. However, charges could be brought against the controversial politician if “serious or consistent evidence” is found.
In 2009, a woman claimed that Darmanin had raped her while he was legal adviser to the UMP, a former right-wing French party. She approached him to have his criminal record erased, to which he allegedly told her “you will also have to help me”. He claims that they had consensual sex.
The case sparked an uproar from women’s groups in France, particularly when Darmanin was appointed the country’s interior minister under President Macron. He is one of the key figures behind an extremely controversial new security law that has seen backlash and large protests across France.
The new law grants new powers, funding and privacy to police and has coincided with a wave of abuse allegations. France has been outraged by recent scandals, including the savage assault on a music producer by Parisian officers and the violent dissolution of a migrant camp by riot police.
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