The mayor of Paris has announced that the city is filing a defamation suit against the Minister of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal, after an interview in which he compared “capitalized rents” to a Ponzi scheme.
Anne Hidalgo had little taste for the interview given by the Minister Delegate in charge of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal to France Inter this November 23 in the morning. The latter was indeed not kind to the mayor of the capital, evoking a “reform issue” of this city.
“An absolutely delusional system”
“Me, when I arrived at the Ministry of the Budget, I discovered that there was an absolutely delusional system called “capitalized rents” which had been set up in a derogatory way at the time of François Hollande, negotiated with Anne Hidalgo”, he pinged at first.
.GabrielAttal denounces an organization that is part of the “Ponzi” scheme in Paris. “You indebt the city for years by pre-empting housing and you recover the rents of decades to come from social landlords to balance a budget today.” #le7930interpic.twitter.com/ApJzUMz6sj
– France Inter (@franceinter) November 23, 2022
According to him, this system authorized the city of Paris to “go into debt by pre-empting housing”, then to ask social landlords to “convert them into social housing” and “in return” to “pay the city decades of future rents so that the city can balance its operating budget.
The city of Paris would have been, still according to the minister, the only one able to proceed in this way and this derogation allowed it to “put on its operating budget, and balance it over a year, decades of rents to come, even though ‘she was indebting the city by pre-empting these dwellings’.
“Me, I put an end to this system because it[e n]is not healthy. The reality is that there is now more than a billion euros in additional debt for the city of Paris linked to this system, ”he further denounced.
“Honestly, it’s a Ponzi”, he insisted, before specifying that he was “obviously not” comparing the city of Paris to crooks like Bernard Madoff, sentenced in 2009 to 150 years in prison for having set up a huge financial scam by Ponzi scheme.
The mayor of Paris denounces “fake news”
But, precision or not, it will now be up to justice to decide on the comparison, since the mayor of Paris announced during the day that the city was filing a complaint in front of “so many lies which undermine its honor and its credibility”.
Faced with so many lies that undermine its honor and credibility, Paris files a complaint for defamation against the Minister of Public Accounts. pic.twitter.com/rkspzYnz53
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) November 23, 2022
In a press release, the city accused Gabriel Attal of lying repeatedly “even though the city provided the minister and his services with all the elements contradicting them”. In detail, the town hall specified that the “capitalized rent” system was “proposed by the State to the city in 2016” and that the services of the Ministry of Finance “have formally validated its implementation each year until in 2022, the year in which the city of Paris wanted to put an end to it”.
“However perfectly informed of these elements, the Minister compares this device to the Ponzi system, that is to say a fraudulent system practiced by investment bankers under the scam. This is obviously an extremely serious lie which calls into question the probity and image of the city, its elected officials and officials, ”we read again.
Finally, the last sentence of the text asks Elisabeth Borne to “stop the dissemination of these fake news statements in full knowledge of the facts”.
Last round in 2026?
Relations between the city of Paris and the executive have been bad since Emmanuel Macron came to power and have not improved after the bitter failure of the presidential camp in the 2020 municipal elections.
Since then, the president’s supporters have been considering changing the law that governs the voting system in Paris, Lyon and Marseille, which is different from other cities. The deputy Renaissance of Paris Sylvain Maillard pleads so that each district presents two ballot boxes to voters: one for the district council and another for the Council of Paris, so that the mayor is elected by direct universal suffrage, which is not the case today. The next municipal elections will be held in 2026.
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