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27 Dec, 2018 17:07

Macron’s ex-bodyguard tours Africa with diplomatic passport issued after beating protester

Macron’s ex-bodyguard tours Africa with diplomatic passport issued after beating protester

French President Emmanuel Macron’s former aide Alexandre Benalla has been traveling on a diplomatic passport for several months, said to have been issued weeks after he sparked scandal when he was caught beating a protester.

Alexandre Benalla has used a diplomatic passport to travel to a number of African countries and Israel in recent weeks.  

The revelation was reported by Mediapart and contradicts the French government’s recent claims that Benalla is not “an official or official emissary,” of the French Republic.

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The former deputy chief of staff to Macron gained notoriety after he was seen beating protesters while wearing a police armband during demonstrations in Paris on May 1. He was eventually fired in July after embarrassing the government, which is accused of attempting to cover up the story.  

The passport was reportedly issued on May 24, 2018 and expires on 19 September 2022. It is a diplomatic passport, which allows the holder to easily pass through borders and gives legal immunity from prosecution in other countries.

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Just weeks before the French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Chad to visit troops on December 22, Benalla had already arrived in the country on a private jet and met with the President Idriss Déby and his brother Oumar Déby, who is head of the Directorate-General of Strategic Reserves which handles arms deals, Le Monde reports.

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Upon Macon’s arrival in Chad, he was forced to clarify to President Idriss Déby that Benalla is not a French official. “Only the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the diplomatic adviser to the President, Philippe Etienne, and Franck Paris, the president’s Africa adviser, are representing the head of state,” he said.

Benalla said in a statement that he was in Chad to accompany “a foreign economic delegation in the framework of investments,” and that all expenses were paid by the delegation head. Le Monde reports this was Franco-Israeli businessman Philippe Hababou Solomon, who specializes in private diplomacy in Africa for governments.

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