Former Macron aide Benalla detained over Russian security contract
A disgraced ex-bodyguard of French President Emmanuel Macron was detained by police on Tuesday and questioned over a security contract signed by an associate with a Russian oligarch, security sources say.
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Alexandre Benalla, who was fired in 2018 after being filmed assaulting protesters, was detained by specialised anti-corruption police along with his wife as part of an investigation into the business dealings of his former associate, Vincent Crase, the sources told AFP.
Crase, an ex-policeman who once handled security for Macron's political party, told investigators in 2019 that the deal with Russian oligarch Iskander Makhmudov covered security for him and his children in France and Monaco.
Benalla denied having anything to do with the contract when he was questioned by a parliamentary committee in 2018.
The 30-year-old former nightclub bouncer was once close to Macron, but has since become an embarrassment for the head of state.
French investigators are probing possible money laundering and corruption in the deal between Crase's company and Makhmudov, who is reputed to be close to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The Mediapart investigative website reported in December 2019 that the deal was worth 294,000 euros.
Last month, Benalla was convicted for assaulting two young demonstrators during an anti-capitalist demonstration in 2018, as well as faking documents and illegally carrying a firearm.
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