France Investigation

Mystery of why disgraced ex-Élysée aide Benalla secretly met African leader with key Macron ally

Despite claims from the Élysée that Emmanuel Macron's former security aide no longer has any links with the presidency, Alexandre Benalla held a secret meeting with an African head of state in the company of a current member of the president's inner circle, Mediapart can reveal. At the end of May 2020 Benalla – who was sacked from the Élysée in July 2018 after being filmed beating up protesters in Paris - met with the new president of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embaló, along with Élysée aide Ludovic Chaker. Chaker is a former soldier who was the first secretary general of Macron's political movement En Marche! in 2016, and a significant figure in the president's entourage. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

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President Emmanuel Macron's disgraced former security aide had a secret meeting with an African head of state in the company of a senior current official at the Élysée, Mediapart can reveal. The revelation casts doubt on repeated claims by the French presidency that Benalla – who was sacked in July 2018 after he was filmed beating up protesters at a May Day demonstration in Paris – no longer has any links with the Élysée.

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