Benalla scandal lifts lid on shadowy Élysée 'mission leaders'


The political scandal surrounding Emmanuel Macron’s disgraced personal security advisor Alexandre Benalla is centred less on his thuggish behaviour in beating up May Day demonstrators while illegally wearing police insignia but rather on the secrecy of his role and his relationship with the president who afforded the 26-year-old extraordinary powers. Benalla was engaged as a ‘mission leader’ with the presidency, a vague title afforded to a number of other Élysée Palace staff whose activities are largely unaccountable to the public. Mediapart has obtained the employment contracts of Benalla and five other so-called ‘mission leaders’ at the Élysée which reveal how they are exempt from probity law requirements that apply to official advisors. Mathilde Mathieu reports.     

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While Alexandre Benalla’s visiting card gave him the title of “Deputy to the cabinet chief” of the French presidency, on his work contract, obtained by Mediapart, his professional duties are summed up in the three words “Chargé de mission”, which means simply ‘mission leader’, an ambiguous description also shared by others behind the doors of the Élysée Palace.