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France to investigate rape allegations against minister Zacharopoulou

Zacharopoulou

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French prosecutors said on Wednesday they were investigating a deputy minister in President Emmanuel Macron’s government after two rape charges were brought against her.

The allegations of rape go back to when Chrysoula Zacharopoulou– who is now Secretary of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships – still worked as a gynecologist, according to the French magazine Marianne.

One complaint was filed on May 25 and the investigation was opened two days later, prosecutors said. The second complaint was filed on June 16.

Greek-born Zacharopoulou, 46, joined Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s government in May, after serving as a member of the European Parliament for the past three years. She reports to Secretary of State Catherine Colonna.

She rose to prominence in 2015 by campaigning for greater public awareness of endometriosis along with actress Julie Gayet, who this year married former French President Francois Hollande.

Zacharopoulou has been heavily involved in the rollout of the UN’s COVAX coronavirus vaccine and has spoken out for women’s reproductive rights.

These are not the first rape allegations to shadow Macron’s government and come at a time of political difficulties for the president after failing to maintain a majority in the parliamentary elections.

Prosecutors were investigating Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin over a rape allegation filed in 2017. He denied any wrongdoing and prosecutors asked for the case to be dropped in January.

Solidarity Minister Damien Abad was also the target of rape allegations in a controversy that erupted last month, but French prosecutors have said they are not currently opening an investigation.

(AFP)

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