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article imageEU's Moscovici admits pricey suit gifts

By AFP     Mar 22, 2017 in World

Top EU economics official Pierre Moscovici confirmed Wednesday he received expensive suits as gifts from the same shop as embattled French presidential candidate Francois Fillon.

Moscovici, a former French finance minister who is now the European Commissioner for economic affairs, was reacting to revelations in the Canard Enchaine newspaper that he had received the suits from a childhood friend, a wealthy wine merchant.

Investigators came across records of the Moscovici gifts when searching the posh Parisian tailor Arnys connected to the Fillon case, Le Canard Enchaine reported.

"I have indeed in the past received suits as gifts from Laurent Max," Moscovici said in a statement to AFP.

"Laurent Max is a childhood friend. I was a witness at his marriage 30 years ago, long before my entry into politics, and he at mine," Moscovici said.

Moscovici added that he was godfather to Max's children and that the events were before 2012, when rules on gifts to officials were tightened in France.

The gifts were from a "true friend" with no links to his political office, Moscovici said.

Last week a French lawyer known for his close links to African leaders confirmed that he bought suits for scandal-hit presidential candidate Fillon worth 13,000 euros ($14,000).

Investigators are looking into whether Fillon violated rules requiring lawmakers to declare gifts, piling further legal woes on the candidate following allegations that his wife was paid hundreds of thousands of euros in public money for a fake job as a parliamentary assistant.

Meanwhile French Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux resigned after revelations that he had hired his two teenage daughters as parliamentary aides, prompting comparisons to Fillon's scandal.

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