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France’s new health minister under investigation for accepting undeclared gifts

France’s new health minister under investigation for accepting undeclared gifts

by host

France’s newly appointed health minister is under investigation for accepting undeclared luxury gifts while working as a pharmacist.

Agnès Firmin Le Bodo is suspected of having received over €20,000 worth of undisclosed gifts between 2015 and 2020, when she was working as a pharmacist in Normandy, according to an investigation by French website Mediapart.

According to the outlet, she received 21 deliveries of luxury products — including watches, bottles of champagne, smartphones and a television —over the years in question from Urgo laboratories, which she failed to declare. The heart of the case hinges on France’s anti-gift laws that impose transparency rules over both companies giving presents and professionals receiving them.

Authorities opened a judicial investigation in June 2023, and a hearing is scheduled for January 2024.

Le Bodo’s spokesperson told Mediapart that she “will only respond to the competent authorities” during January’s hearing.

The investigation is part of a wider inquiry into illegal commercial practices by Urgo laboratories, which reportedly offered more than €55 million euros in gifts to pharmacists throughout the country between 2015 and 2021, Mediapart reported. Urgo was convicted in January 2023 for breaching the anti-gift law.

Le Bodo took on the role of health minister on Wednesday, after former Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau resigned over the country’s controversial immigration bill.

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