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Alstom, Macron, A Story of Treason

The anti-corruption association Anticor filed a complaint on July 17th with the Paris prosecutor for “corruption” and “embezzlement of public funds” in the case of the sale of Alstom energy to General Electric [1]. The association wonders why the former CEO of Alstom Patrick Kron was not prosecuted in France, while he pleaded guilty to corruption in the United States.

The announcement fell on Tuesday, May 28th, two days after the European elections: General Electric, the US multinational that bought Alstom energy 4 years ago, is preparing to remove 1055 jobs in Belfort [2]. How did we get here ? The scarcely credible story of the sale of Alstom’s energy business to General Electric is worthy of a spy film. A thriller in which we find the FBI, American justice, stories of bribes and corruption all mixed … and it goes back to the financing of the campaign of Emmanuel Macron!

The American trap

In 2014, Alstom was a successful company. Of course, it was smaller than its direct competitors and must consider reconciliations, but it had 50 billion euros in contracts before it, or 10 years of orders. In short, there was no burning desire to sell it.

Except that Alstom has paid bribes all over the planet for 10 years to get these contracts [3].

At the time of the sale to General Electric, Alstom had been prosecuted for years for corruption by the Department of Justice [4], a very special jurisdiction of the United States that depends on the White House. An instrument of “economic war”. In the viewfinder of the “DOJ” is a central figure in this affair, Patrick Kron. As CEO of Alstom since 2003, Patrick Kron was held accountable by the Americans for this vast corrupt company and faces very heavy penalties: a possible prison sentence and a huge fine that would flatten Alstom. To scare him and try to make him talk, American justice downrightly imprisoned one of his close collaborators, Frédéric Pierucci, who testifies in our report. In sum, the US justice investigation will be used to compel Patrick Kron to sell Alstom to its American rival, General Electric [5]. A pure and simple racket.

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A pact of corruption?

But the story does not stop there: a parliamentary commission of inquiry presided by Olivier Marleix, the Republican deputy of Eure, raised very heavy suspicions last year: besides the blackmail exerted by American justice, the chairman of the commission of inquiry suspects that this sale of Alstom Energy has played a role in the financing of Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign in 2017 [6]. Indeed, it is Emmanuel Macron who, in November 2014, while he was Minister of the Economy, authorised the sale of Alstom. For such a multi-billion dollar deal, battalions of bankers, business lawyers, and communicators are hired by both companies. And it is very curious, according to Olivier Marleix, “to find in the list of donors of ‘En Marche’ people who were interested, directly or indirectly, in the sale of Alstom energy”, precisely as bankers, business lawyers, or shareholders. This could be interpreted as “a pact of corruption” [7].

On January 17th, Olivier Marleix reported his serious suspicions to the prosecutor [8], the conclusion of six months of parliamentary investigation and dozens of hearings. Suspicions that the justice took seriously, since an investigation was opened by the Nanterre Central Office of Combatting Corruption. Olivier Marleix was heard on May 29th by the court in this case that is under investigation [9].

Who are they, those beneficiaries of the sale of Alstom who are then found in the financing of Emmanuel Macron’s campaign? You only have to look at the list of donors for a few minutes to see potential major conflicts of interest. We reveal to you in this report the names of some of these characters, business bankers and high-civil servants, who could have according to the commission of inquiry formed a “pact of corruption” with Emmanuel Macron over the sale of Alstom.

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For employees in Belfort, a life or death fight

Under the lion of Belfort, a gigantic banner is deployed in support of employees of General Electric (photo: Jérémie Younes)

The employees of General Electric in Belfort did not plan to let their assets and jobs be stolen from them without flinching. On June 22nd, a large unitary demonstration was organised in Belfort and brought together nearly 10,000 people, all the unions, and elected officials from the right to the NPA. Twice already, workers and managers have prevented the start of the social plan by blocking access to meetings. But General Electric has decided to go ahead with its layoff plan, despite the total boycott of negotiations by employees. The countdown to three months is launched and the axe should fall in late September.

Both judicially and socially, the Alstom-GE case is far from over. But justice is slow, and it often does not have as much courage to pursue white-collar workers as much as it does to zealously punish Yellow Vests. Meanwhile, in the “city of the Three Sièges” [10] to the glorious resistant past, it is a life or death struggle that is ongoing.


la-bas.org, Jérémie Younes

[1] Anne Michel, Affaire Alstom : Anticor porte plainte pour « corruption » et « détournement de fonds publics », Le Monde, 22 July 2019

[2]
“General Electric envisage la suppression de plus de 1 000 emplois en France”, Le Monde with AFP and Reuters, 28 May 2019

[3]
“Document : en 2014, Alstom plaidait coupable de corruption aux Etats-Unis”, Le Monde, 15 January 2019

[4]
“Alstom accusé par les autorités américaines de corruption en Indonésie”, Libération with AFP, 22 December 2014

[5]
“Vente d’Alstom, rompre le silence autour d’une affaire d’État !”, L’Humanité, 19 July 2014

[6]
Vente d’Alstom Energie validée par Macron : un député évoque un « pacte de corruption », Le Parisien with AFP, 17 January 2019

[7] Marie-Béatrice Baudet and Chloé Aeberhardt, 
« Affaire Alstom-GE : la justice saisie par l’ancien président de la commission d’enquête parlementaire », Le Monde, 17 January 2019

[8]
“Un député saisit la justice sur l’affaire Alstom-GE”, Reuters, 17 January 2019

[9] Matthieu Aron, 
“INFO OBS. La justice enquête sur la vente d’Alstom à General Electric”, L’Obs, 5 June 2019

[10] In the 19th century, Belfort had a reputation of being an impenetrable city. It was subjected to three long sieges (1814, 1815 and 1871) and it never fell

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