The trial in France of a politician who supports the presidential majority and ten former executives of his center-right party begins today in Paris in a case related to the misuse of European funds.

Close to President Emmanuel Macron, former minister and three-time presidential candidate, Francois Bayroux72 years old, will have to answer for alleged practices of his party, the MoDema member of the Macron majority in the French National Assembly, from 2005 to 2017.

During that period, Bairroux and other MoDem officials allegedly used EU funds to hire parliamentary assistants who worked, at least in part, for the party rather than assisting elected MEPs in the European Parliament in Strasbourg (eastern France).

Civil action in the trial, the European Parliament, whose financial losses were once estimated at 1.4 million euros and now stand at 293,000 euros, of which 88,000 have already been returned.

Bairu, who now holds the hybrid position of “chief planning commissioner” within the government, has repeatedly maintained his innocence.

“The majority of charges have been dropped. And I must repeat it: I have never, not once, and we have never as officials, as a party, participated in the slightest abuse,” he said last week in a local newspaper.

The emergence of this case early in Emmanuel Macron’s first five-year term had forced him to resign as justice minister, just weeks after his appointment.

He is accused along with a former Minister of Justice, five former MEPs, three officials and a parliamentary assistant at the time.

Similar investigations in France target two other parties: France Insubordinate (LFI, radical left) and National Alarm (RN, far right).