Former aide to Christine Lagarde ‘shifted route of TGV to avoid mother’s garden’

 

Paris

A former aide to Christine Lagarde has put himself on the fast track to a criminal charge after allegedly trying to shift the route of a new TGV train line 1.8 miles away from his mother’s garden in south-western France.

François-Gilles Egretier, who was a technical adviser to Ms Lagarde when she was French Finance Minister, has said that he acted out of “filial love” and in order to ensure that the high-speed rail project in south-western France would affect fewer people.

But the 15 people now in the way of the line between Bordeaux and Spain became suspicious and launched a complaint. Mr Egretier was placed under investigation on Monday on suspicion of showing “unlawful interest” in the track.

Three years ago, the French rail network, Réseau Ferré de France, decided the new route would travel through the little village of Uchacq-et-Parentis in the Landes region, affecting 60 properties including the garden of Mr Egretier’s mother who has a residence at Lachinoy.

Three months later, RFF abruptly changed its mind and moved the route 3km to the north, sparing the property of Mr Egretier’s mother but affecting the 15 other residents.

The incident came to the attention of French justice when it was mentioned in the local gazette, according to the Sud-Ouest newspaper. The mayor of Uchacq-et-Parentis publicly thanked Ms Egretier for acting as “our Paris branch”.

French investigating magistrate Renaud van Ruymbeke, who specialises in financial corruption allegations, believes that there is a case to be made that Mr Egretier used his position as a public official for private gain. As Finance Minister, Ms Lagarde had direct responsibility over RFF.

Mr Egretier is suspected of having alerted the Transport Minister, and of contacting the head of RFF who organised a meeting into the rail track route which was subsequently modified. If the charge is confirmed, it carries a five-year prison sentence and a possible fine of up  to €75,000.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Magento Front End Web Developer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...

Investigo: management accountant

£250 - £300 per day: Investigo: Growing international marketing business requi...

Recruitment Genius: ORM / Online Reputational Consultant

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ORM Consultant is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Facilities Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of educat...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore