French intelligence probed L'Oreal leaks: police

13th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

France's domestic intelligence service investigated media leaks in the L'Oreal party funding scandal, the head of the national police said Monday.

Frederic Pechenard called it a "legitimate investigation of the origin of leaks" carried out by as part of the domestic intelligence service's "mission to protect the security of institutions."

Pechenard said in a statement that a senior ministeral aide had been identified as the source of the leak, without naming the person.

Le Monde accused the Elysee Palace of trying to stifle reporting of a long-running party finance investigation and of breaking a law protecting whistleblowers by investigating the source of one of its stories.

The Elysee earlier Monday rejected the front-page allegation, saying it had never ordered any investigation of the press leaks.

In July, as part of its coverage of the ongoing investigations into a party funding scandal involving Labour Minister Eric Woerth, Le Monde published leaked details of the police questioning of L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt's financial adviser.

© 2010 AFP

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