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France

Sales boom for paper after deputy mayor corruption allegations

P. Kovarik / AFP

A French weekly paper sold out in one Paris suburb this week … because, it claims, the mayor ordered her team to buy up all the copies in town. Le Canard enchaîné weekly piqued the interest of Puteaux deputy mayor Joëlle Ceccaldi-Raynaud’s with a report that her own father had accused her of corruption.

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Puteaux newsagents were astonished to experience a rush on sales of the Canard, which specialises in satire and embarrassing political revelations, some of them recognising council employees among the bulk buyers.

Spate of high-profile trials in France

The 600 copies on sale in the swish suburb vanished in a matter of hours and, one of the paper’s journalists says, some news-kiosk owners refused to take new orders for fear of reprisals.

“The kiosk owners recognised council employees,” said Canard reporter Hervé Liffran. “One of them assured me that, if a new delivery arrived, he would put the new copies under the counter and send them back unsold next week.”

It is not the first time that a local council has bought as many copies of the paper as possible, Liffran said, “but they have never sought to prevent them being replaced”.

Ceccaldi-Reynaldi is a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP and worked with him in the National Assembly. Puteaux is next door to Sarkozy's home base, Neuilly-sur-Seine, in the Hauts de Seine department, the scene of a battle for control between Sarkozy's son, Jean, and former Sarkozy ally Patrick Devedjan earlier this year.

The paper reported that she was summoned for questioning in connection with alleged sweeteners paid during the attribution of a lucrative municipal heating contract.

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Her father, former right-wing senator and mayor Charles Ceccaldi-Reynaldi, had accused her of placing four million euros received in bribes in tax havens, according to the paper.

Father and daughter have been at daggers drawn for some years. Charles Ceccaldi-Reynaldi was charged with favouritism and corruption in 2007.

Joëlle Ceccaldi-Reynaldi on Wednesday denied the accusations and announced that she would sue Le Canard enchaîné.

Opposition councillor Christophe Grébert has called on supporters to distribute the paper outside a local supermarket on Saturday afternoon.

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