French Labor Minister Goes On Trial For Alleged Favoritism When He Was A Mayor

ILE - French Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt, in Salon-de-Provence, south-eastern France, Friday, June 9, 2023. French Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt goes on trial on Monday Nov.27, 2023 over charges of favoritism related to a 2009 public sector contract passed when he was a mayor. (Nicolas Tucat, Pool via AP, File)
ILE - French Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt, in Salon-de-Provence, south-eastern France, Friday, June 9, 2023. French Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt goes on trial on Monday Nov.27, 2023 over charges of favoritism related to a 2009 public sector contract passed when he was a mayor. (Nicolas Tucat, Pool via AP, File)

PARIS (AP) — French Labor Minister Olivier Dussopt goes on trial on Monday over charges of favoritism related to a 2009 public sector contract passed when he was a mayor.

Dussopt is suspected of having favoured a private company, the Saur group, in the awarding of a water contract when he was the mayor of the small town of Annonay in the southeast of France, France’s financial prosecutor's office said.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

Speaking on France 3 national television earlier this month, Dussopt said: “I’m going before the court to prove I acted in good faith.”

The investigation was launched in 2020 after investigative website Mediapart revealed possible links between Dussopt and a local manager of the Saur company.

Dussopt is a key member of the government of President Emmanuel Macron. Appointed labor minister in 2022, he championed the unpopular plan raising raising the retirement age from 62 to 64. The changes prompted months of mass protests at the beginning of the year.

If convicted by the Paris criminal court, he is facing two years in prison.

The trial comes in a difficult week for the French government. On Wednesday, a special court will decide whether France’s justice minister is guilty of having used his office to settle personal scores, in an unprecedented case.

Eric Dupond-Moretti has refused to resign but could do so if found guilty on conflict of interest charges. He was tried in the Court of Justice of the Republic — a special court for alleged wrongdoing by the government — facing three professional magistrates accompanied by 12 members of parliament who will issue the ruling.