The Élysée should have been concerned about the suspicions that hovered over the deputy of the Ain before appointing him Minister of Solidarity. On the sexual affairs, but also on a more surprising case.
This is the first big scandal that Elisabeth Borne’s new government will have to face, and it essentially implicates the Élysée. The Damien Abad affair highlights the amateurism of the executive, its lack of anticipation, its lack of curiosity and, in short, its self-centered management of the affairs of the Republic.
Damien Abad is the deputy of the Ain, president of the L.R. group in the Assembly, appointed Minister of Solidarity, Autonomy and the Handicapped, on May 20, 2022. The next day, he is pinned by Médiapart.
The online newspaper reveals that the brand new minister is accused of rape by two women, one of whom claims to have been drugged. The facts date back to 2010 and 2011. A complaint dating back to 2017 has been closed without action. Damien Abad, contacted by Médiapart, formally denies the facts that he is accused.
The Observatory of sexist and sexual violence in politics, informed of these serious facts by one of the complainants, saw fit to alert by mail several political figures.
“We sent the report by email to Stanislas Guérini, (secretary general of LREM, now Minister of Public Service), Christophe Castaner, Bérangère Couillard, (deputy of the Gironde), and Aurélien Pradié, (secretary general of Les Républicains) ” explains the Observatory to France Info. An alert was sent on Monday, May 16, followed by a reminder on the 19th for LREM and the 20th for LR,” says the Observatory.
For its part, Mediapart says it has sent a letter to the prosecutor’s office in Paris.
In other words, everyone knew, even before the appointment of Damien Abad as minister. Everyone knew and nobody said anything.
Eavesdropping in a criminal case
Worse. In an article in Libération of May 20, 2022, we learn that Damien Abad could be “embarrassed” by telephone calls made “to a friend”. The conversations were overheard by the investigators in charge of elucidating a criminal case in which two DGSE soldiers and a former DGSI commander were involved.
It is obviously unknown at what level the new minister could be “embarrassed” in this case, but the fact that he appears in these wiretaps, on a case where there is a question of assassination, is surprising to say the least.
In any case, this should have called out to the fine sleuths at the Élysée Palace, who should have informed President Macron to prevent the scandal from splashing the brand new Prime Minister.
I will be very clear,” said Elisabeth Borne, “on all these issues of harassment, sexual assault, there can be no impunity. The head of Matignon said her willingness to “continue to act so that women, who may be victims of assault, harassment, can free their word, that they are well received to file a complaint.
A team of amateurs
Only here, the damage is done. We were told that the Élysée was taking its time before appointing the new government to study the assets of each and every minister, in order to avoid a scandal like Jérôme Cahuzac. In fact, we know everything, or almost everything, about Damien Abad’s assets and remunerations since 2012, thanks to his declaration to the Haute Autorité pour la Transparence de la Vie Publique (HATVP).
But the Élysée knew nothing about the suspicions of rape and sexual assault of the future minister. A mistake? No, a mistake that blatantly illustrates the amateurism of the team that took over the Élysée Palace five years ago.
Après les révélations de @Mediapart concernant le ministre Damien Abad, visé par deux accusations de viol qui ont fait l’objet d’un signalement à LREM le 16 mai, la majorité présidentielle peine à justifier sa nomination au gouvernement malgré cette alerte https://t.co/98LFL3ubFo
— Edwy Plenel (@edwyplenel) May 22, 2022
— franceinfo (@franceinfo) May 22, 2022
Fiona Texeire, cofondatrice de l'Observatoire violences sexistes et sexuelles: "le gouvernement doit s'assurer que les personnes qui vont côtoyer Damien Abad ne soient pas en danger" pic.twitter.com/bynZgQZQEd
— BFMTV (@BFMTV) May 22, 2022