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    French judiciary investigates Paris Olympic chief


    More salary through trick?
    French judiciary investigates Paris Olympic chief

    Did the head of the Paris Games' organization use a trick to get a higher salary? According to media reports, this is the question that the French judiciary is considering just a few months before the opening ceremony. The committee is “astonished” by the investigation.

    Less than half a year before the opening ceremony, the head of the Paris Summer Olympics, Tony Estanguet, is apparently facing legal trouble. As the French news agency AFP reported, citing a source familiar with the case, judges specializing in financial crimes launched an investigation against the three-time Olympic canoe slalom champion last week.

    The aim is to clarify whether the 45-year-old – as an investigative editorial team reported last October – is using a trick to circumvent the salary cap that applies to charities with the same status as the organizing committee (Cojop). According to the newspaper “Le Canard Enchaine”, Estanguet invoices the organizing committee every month through his own company instead of receiving a salary.

    In response to an AFP query on Tuesday, Cojop said it was “surprised” by the investigation, which had been launched by the National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) and entrusted to the Paris criminal police. The president of the organizing committee is “not an employee” of Cojop, and its executives are not subject to a salary cap. This is in line with the tax exemption, the conditions of which are met by Cojop's organizational form.

    The French financial prosecutor's office did not want to tell AFP “at this stage about the existence of a possible preliminary investigation into Tony Estanguet's remuneration.” According to the last officially published figures from 2018, Estanguet receives a gross annual salary of 270,000 euros with possible bonuses of a further 20 percent – which would be above the salary cap.

    Paris was awarded the contract to host the games in 2017. The organizing committee of the upcoming Olympic Games (26 July to 11 August) and Paralympic Games (28 August to 8 September) in France's capital is already under investigation in three cases, in particular on suspicion of favoritism and embezzlement of public funds in the awarding of contracts.

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