Gaël Perdriau refuses to resign

The mayor of Saint-Etienne, Gaël Perdriau, June 26, 2019.

He does not intend to resign for the moment. Gaël Perdriau, the mayor Les Républicains (LR) of Saint-Etienne, posted Thursday September 15 his " determination " to remain in office despite the "sextape" blackmail case that has shaken his city since the end of August.

The one who is also president of the Saint-Etienne metropolis has "in no case planned to withdraw from his duties"as requested by several local and national elected officials, in his camp and in the opposition, but also local economic actors, his lawyer, Mr.e Christopher Ingrain. “There would be no legal justification for him to resign”he believes.

"Gaël Perdriau is at work in the city as well as in the metropolis on all issues, serving the two communities and the inhabitants, with the same determination"said a press release from his cabinet. “He emerged free from three and a half hours of police custody without any action taken by the courts against him”defended his lawyer by qualifying as "heartbreaking" the many hostile reactions within LR and by criticizing the exclusion procedure launched by his party.

Read also: "Sextape" blackmail in Saint-Etienne: the mayor, Gaël Perdriau, targeted by an exclusion procedure by Les Républicains

Mr. Perdriau attended a meeting on Thursday with the twenty vice-presidents of Saint-Etienne Métropole during which the case was discussed. “I addressed the issue and gave my version of the facts (…). Whether in the city or in the metropolis, I am at the head of my responsibilities and I assume them”he said at the end of these exchanges before slipping away.

According to images published by TL7, a Loire television channel, around 100 city agents forced their way into Saint-Etienne town hall. "to have explanations" Thursday, September 15.

Judicial information opened

The 50-year-old elected official was placed in police custody on Tuesday September 13 as part of investigations into the filming and use of a video shot in January 2015 in which we see Gilles Artigues, his former first deputy and former - MP known for his Catholic commitment, being massaged by a man in a hotel room in Paris. The objective is to politically neutralize this centrist who now occupies a position in Catholic education in the Tarn.

“Neither the mayor nor myself are the sponsors of this video”said Wednesday his chief of staff, Pierre Gauttieri, during an interview on local television TL7, saying to himself “calm about the sequence of events”.

The case broke at the end of August when the news site Mediapart has published the detailed confessions of a former close friend of the municipal team on a “daubering of manners” organized, according to him, at the request of the mayor and his relatives. The filming of the compromising video was, according to him, paid for via fictitious services invoiced to two local cultural associations subsidized by the town hall.

The Lyon public prosecutor's office opened a judicial investigation for "invasion of privacy, aggravated blackmail, embezzlement of public property by a person in charge of a public function, breach of trust and concealment of these offenses" after a complaint by Gilles Artigues.

The three investigating judges in charge of the case began to hear all the protagonists, the complainant, the whistleblower, the mayor, his chief of staff, the education assistant and four heads of cultural associations for the financial aspect of the case, according to the prosecution.

" Execution "

The broadcast of damning new audio recordings by Mediapart monday september 12 relaunched the case again. We hear the mayor talk about the "sextape" with his first deputy, talk about a broadcast “in a small circle, sparingly” in a conversation recorded in July 2018, according to Mediapart.

“Once it is on the networks, it is no longer blackmail, it is an execution”he says in another recording from November 2017, according to Mediapart. The mayor, he claims not to have sponsored this video, never to have seen it and never to have used it for political blackmail.

Read also: Blackmail in Saint-Etienne: "Mediapart" publishes recordings of Mayor Gaël Perdriau and his chief of staff

The CGT of municipal staff launched a strike call on Thursday morning within the living environment service (cleaning and maintenance of green spaces). evoking "the authoritarianism of the mayor" and one "deleterious context"the CGT asks “a moratorium on all administrative decisions concerning personnel put in place by the team” of Gaël Perdriau since his election in 2014.

On Wednesday, more than a hundred people demonstrated in front of City Hall in the pouring rain to demand his resignation and that of his municipal team.

The World with AFP

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