A screenshot of an email questioning the presidency of the Paris-8 University in Saint-Denis was shared on Twitter by Samuel Lafont, director of digital strategy at Reconquête, ‘Eric Zemmour’s party. This email reports a “search of Paris-8 by several judicial officers from the Financial Brigade” on “suspicion of misappropriation of public funds and corruption” relating to European research funds.
According to this e-mail, a complaint was made to the European Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf), which launched an investigation “into fraudulent use of funds” in the spring.
” What’s going on ? “You have to react,” Samel Lafont urged the university administration. In response to his tweets, the Paris-8 Twitter account said he was the victim of “anonymous, misleading and defamatory emails” and asked him to not to forward them.
When we got in touch, the University of Paris-8 informed us that a complaint had been lodged with the police for “defamation of persons by word of mouth, writing, image or by means of electronic communication”.
In an e-mail dated November 21, 2022 to the staff, which we were able to see, the university’s presidency states that they want to react “to the defamatory e-mail about the alleged search of the National Public Prosecutor’s Office”. She explains that this is actually a “very normal control process” by Olaf when it comes to controlling the management of European funds. This office is part of the European Commission but operationally independent. She is responsible for investigating fraud or irregularities affecting the EU budget.
The PNF confirms it did not search Paris-8 on November 14
On November 14, 2022, two Olaf officials conducted an audit “as provided for in European funding regulations,” the executive email said. For reasons of territorial sovereignty, these investigators were accompanied by two French police officers. The National Treasury Prosecutor, specifically mentioned in the email published on Twitter, confirmed to us that “there was no search by the PNF inside the Paris-8 University today”.
The purpose of this visit was to “define the scope of control of European funds and the list of services required to provide the requested supporting documents,” the letter points out. Investigators left on Tuesday afternoon, November 15, management said, and less than four hours later, as noted in the email on Twitter.
Since October 5, the Presidency has denounced the sending of “defamatory emails” from a “collective” “not representative of university representatives” because they were not elected. The latter use “disinformation”, develop “explicitly defamatory fictions based on factual elements such as the management of cinemas or control of European services, in order to then distract them and insert defamatory allegations”. This collective “damages the reputation and the proper functioning of the establishment”, regrets the management in their email.