The troubling unofficial role of a senior French minister's partner

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A number of officials at the Ministry for Energy Transition, which is headed by Agnès Pannier-Runacher, are said to be at the end of their tether. The minister's partner Nicolas Bays, who has no title or role there, is reported to have constantly intervened to give orders or put pressure on ministerial staff. In addition, several former Parliamentary staff have told Mediapart that they were victims of inappropriate gestures made by Nicolas Bays at the National Assembly several years ago when he was a Member of Parliament. He denies the allegations. Lénaïg Bredoux, Antton Rouget and Ellen Salvi report.

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Officially, energy transition minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher's office is saying nothing. Her entourage did not respond to any of the questions put by Mediapart, and instead simply held up the threat of legal action (see the Boîte Noire box below). Unofficially, Mediapart's investigation into the behaviour of her partner, Nicolas Bays, and his interference in the work of her ministerial team has been the subject of many private conversations for the last two weeks both inside the ministry and across the government.