Mystery of French minister's massive Air France pay-off

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A French government minister's declarations of her past income have shed a stark light on the system of privileges enjoyed by an elite group of civil servants in France. That system allowed Florence Parly, a career civil servant who is now minister for the Armed Forces, to take up lucrative jobs outside the civil service without ever risking her security of employment. She even managed to negotiate a golden handshake from Air France worth around half a million euros. Laurent Mauduit reports.

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Florence Parly took office as France's minister for the Armed Forces in June this year after working as a director for French state-owned railways SNCF. Before that, though, she was a senior executive at Air France, in which the state is the largest shareholder. Now, in a revealing declaration to the High Authority for Transparency in Public Life (HATVP), a state anti-corruption body set up in 2013, it appears she was dismissed from Air France, yet pocketed the tidy net sum of 407,231 euros.