The Daily Telegraph

French mayor ‘paid €50,000 for gay sex tape of rival’

Gaël Perdriau used public funds to blackmail former deputy over footage with a prostitute, it is alleged

- By Henry Samuel in Paris

A FRENCH mayor has been arrested over accusation­s he paid €50,000 (£43,000) to obtain a sex tape of a political rival in an attempt at blackmail.

Gaël Perdriau, 50, mayor of Saintetien­ne, is alleged to have used public funds to pay for footage of his former deputy, Gilles Artigues, 57, a married father with traditiona­l Catholic social views, having sex with a male prostitute in a Paris hotel room in 2014.

Police quizzed Mr Perdriau – at one point tipped to be a minister in Emmanuel Macron’s government – and four of his municipal colleagues yesterday as part of a preliminar­y investigat­ion into “violating privacy, aggravated blackmail, misuse of public funds by a person with a public post, abuse of trust and concealmen­t”.

The affair has caused intense embarrassm­ent to the Republican Party, which launched moves to evict Mr Perdriau yesterday.

“While it is up to justice to decide on guilt and Mr Perdriau’s involvemen­t, the Republican­s can only condemn the abominable methods used by the mayor of Saint-etienne towards a political rival,” it said in a statement.

The scandal first erupted last month when the investigat­ive website Mediapart published an interview with Gilles Rossary-lenglet, the man who claims he was paid by the mayor of France’s 13th largest town to obtain the sex tape.

“It was ordered by Gaël Perdriau, the mayor and his chef de cabinet, Pierre Gauttieri,” he said, adding that the aim was to keep in check the centrist Mr Artigues’ ambitions to run for local MP and mayor and force him to back Mr Perdriau, who beat the Left to take over the town hall in 2014 and was re-elected in 2020. “When someone says bad things about gays and is seen cavorting with an escort boy, you have in your hands the death sentence of a political adversary,” Mr Rossary-lenglet told France Inter.

He said his ex-boyfriend Samy Kéfijérome, deputy mayor in charge of education and also detained yesterday, was the first to reveal the existence of the sex tape to Mr Artigues 18 months after it was shot.

He showed him an edited “teaser” entitled: “In bed with Gilles Artigues.”

Mr Perdriau initially denied any knowledge of the tape or having spoken about it with Mr Artigues.

However, Mediapart has since released a series of damning conversati­ons recorded without the mayor’s knowledge that suggest he was not only aware of the tape but actively involved in the alleged blackmail plot.

In one, the mayor’s chief secretary can be heard saying: “I’ve got a video showing your bum in the air with a bloke. Doesn’t that worry you?”

When Mr Artigues threatens to inform the prosecutor, the secretary warns: “If you do that, all the parents of all the pupils in the same class as your children will receive a copy of the film. I’m not sure your kids would get over that.” “There are other ways of doing it, we are not obliged to spread it publicly,” the mayor went on to suggest the clip could be sent to “small circles parsimonio­usly”.

Mr Artigues can be heard exclaiming: “This is an odious mise en scene.”

The mayor replied: “Perhaps (the teaser) is stage-managed but the full film lasts an hour and a quarter.”

 ?? ?? The Republican­s have condemned Gaël Perdriau for the ‘abominable methods’ it is claimed he used
The Republican­s have condemned Gaël Perdriau for the ‘abominable methods’ it is claimed he used

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