In Saint-Etienne, the shock wave of the Perdriau affair

The mayor (Les Républicains) Gaël Perdriau, in Saint-Etienne, on August 27, 2022.

The sky suddenly darkens over the town hall of Saint-Etienne. The wind picks up. The rain. Hail. All that was missing was a real storm, after the politico-legal storm. Nearly 200 people came to demonstrate, Wednesday, September 14, in front of a town hall in turmoil. The day before, the town councilor, Gaël Perdriau, was placed in custody for a few hours by the judicial police (PJ) of Lyon. On the forecourt, the "Partridge resignation" multiply.

" That is why ? », asks a passerby. The summary of the case drags on: Gilles Artigues, former first deputy mayor Les Républicains (LR) and local Union of Democrats and Independents (UDI) figure, claims to have been the victim of intimate video blackmail for eight years organized by another deputy, Samy Kefi-Jérôme, and his companion at the time, Gilles Rossary-Lenglet. According to the confidences of the latter at Mediapart, which revealed the case, the operation was allegedly sponsored by Mayor Gaël Perdriau and his chief of staff, Pierre Gauttieri – which both deny. A camera would have been placed in a hotel room in Paris to film Gilles Artigues without his knowledge, while he was being massaged by an escort boy.

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

The video, edited, would then have been used to "muzzle" politically Gilles Artigues, with conservative positions and very involved in the Catholic community. Still according to Rossary-Lenglet's statements, he and his companion at the time were remunerated through fictitious grants to two associations.

Justice has now taken hold of the scandal: the Lyon public prosecutor's office has 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 offences", after a complaint from Gilles Artigues. Five people – Perdriau, Gauttieri, Rossary-Lenglet, Kefi-Jérôme and the Deputy Chief of Staff – were taken into custody on Tuesday, September 13. The next day followed those of the representatives of the two associations. Not to mention the searches: town hall, homes, premises of associations...

Anger and disgust

Who, in Saint-Etienne, has not listened and re-listened to the recordings published by Mediapart Monday ? We hear Gaël Perdriau say he is ready to leak the video " with parsimony " in "little circles" and talk about" execution ". His chief of staff, Pierre Gauttieri, claims to be there " without faith or law " and threatens to send the video to the parents of students in Gilles Artigues' children's schools. “If the fact that I go to jail makes you fall because you pass for an old pedal on the return, I have no problem”, slams the voice of Pierre Gauttieri. Amazement and doubts in the face of the first revelations, at the end of August, were followed by anger and disgust.

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