Paris – The head of the French National Assembly, Richard Ferrand, has been placed under judicial investigation on suspicion of improper influence on a property deal, local media reported on Thursday.
Ferrand told news agency AFP that he wished to remain in his post at the National Assembly, France’s lower house of parliament.
He is a close ally of French President Emmanuel Macron and a heavyweight in his majority government.
The investigations will centre on a property transaction that took place during Ferrand’s time as head of the local health insurance associations in the north-western region of Brittany.
Ferrand has previously denied the allegations.
He has been the head of the National Assembly for one year.
Before that, he was the leader of France’s governing La Republique en Marche party.
The former Socialist supported Macron on his way to power and helped him found La Republique en Marche in 2016.
When Macron came to power in 2017, he served briefly in the cabinet as Housing Minister.
However, he was forced to leave the post when allegations emerged over the property deal.
In France, the launch of a judicial probe means investigators see “serious or consistent evidence” of misconduct.
The investigation may lead to criminal proceedings if sufficient evidence is found.