A French senator accused of pouring a female MP’s drink in order to assault her has been arrested for questioning
French police arrested a French senator for questioning on suspicion of drugging a female parliamentarian with the aim of sexually assaulting her.
Prosecutors said on Thursday that Joel Guereau, 66, a centrist senator from western France, is being held on charges of “giving a person without his knowledge a substance likely to reduce his judgment or self-control for the commission of rape or sexual assault.”
The maximum penalty for this charge is five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros (£65,500).
While the prosecution named the victim only as “a woman who filed a complaint,” French media widely reported that she was a member of parliament.
She allegedly felt strange after accepting a drink on Tuesday night at the 66-year-old senator’s home in Paris. Prosecutors said the two were not in an intimate relationship.
Investigators added that tests revealed clear traces of ecstasy in her body, which prompted her to file a criminal complaint.
Prosecutors said Mr. Guerio was arrested and detained under flagrante delicto rules that allow police to bypass his parliamentary immunity.
Mixtures including ecstasy have been found
RMC Radio, which was first to report the story, said police searched his office and home, where prosecutors confirmed they found a mixture containing ecstasy.
Originally a banker, Mr. Gerio has been a senator since 2011. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
An independent centrist in the Senate, he is a member of the Horizon party led by Edouard Philippe, Emmanuel Macron’s hugely popular former prime minister and who has made clear he intends to run for president in 2027.
Christophe Pichou, Macron’s green transition minister and Horizon’s secretary-general, said Gérieux “clearly cannot remain in the party if there is the slightest suspicion” that he drugged the unnamed MP. “If this is true, it is scary,” he told France Inter.
Mr. Guerio’s lawyer, Rémy Pierre Drai, said he was “outraged to see the information from the investigation in the press.”
He added: “I am surprised that the victim’s name was not leaked, unlike my client’s name.” “We are very far from the bitter explanation that can be derived from reading the first newspaper articles.”