François Fillon and his conflict of interest over insurance giant AXA

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On February 6th the beleaguered right-wing presidential candidate was forced to admit that the major insurance firm AXA was a client of his consultancy firm 2F Conseil. Between 2012 and 2014 the group paid 200,000 euros to Fillon, who was a Member of Parliament at the time. The money was apparently paid to the former prime minister because he could “open doors in Brussels and Berlin” as new European Union insurance regulations were being implemented. Mediapart's Martine Orange argues that the affair is a clear example of conflict of interest.

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Doubtless through a sense of discretion, François Fillon does not like to broadcast his friendships and contacts in the world of business. Even less so when it comes to the French insurance group AXA. It was only when he was forced to do it that the right-wing candidate for the presidential election cast aside his normal reticence and admitted in December to his ties to with the group's former chief executive officer Henri de Castries. At the time, Fillon's plans to privatise a section of the French social security system were causing a major controversy. The former prime minister insisted that while Castries was his friend, he was in no way behind the plan that would break up the social security system to the benefit of insurance companies.