A French mayor has been arrested for blackmail against his deputy using a gay sex tape.
Gaël Perdriau, 50, is accused of paying €50,000 (£43,000) for footage of Gilles Artigues, 57, who is a married father.
It is alleged that he used public funds for the footage from 2014 of Mr Artigues with a male prostitue in a Parisian hotel.
Perdriau was taken into custody as part of the preliminary investigation along with four others including:
- Chief of staff Pierre Gauttieri
- Deputy chief of staff Claire Vocanson
- Deputy mayor Semy Kéfi-Jérôme
- Mr Kéfi-Jérôme’s ex-boyfriend Gilles Rossary-Lenglet
The centre-right Republicans have since moved to oust Mr Perdiau, who has served as mayor since 2014 and was re-elected in 2020.
‘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,’ the Republicans said.
The party’s general secretary, Aurélien Pradié, confirmed on Twitter that party president Christian Jacob has ‘already dismissed him of his national duties’ and ‘will be excluded’.
He added: ‘The mafia actions of Gaël Perdriau are intolerable for our political family as well as for our public life.’
Mr Perdriau, long considered a rising star of the Republicans, is accused of setting up Mr Artigues being filmed receiving an ‘erotic massage’ from from a sex worker in a Paris hotel room in 2014.
According to the reports, the criminal lawsuit filed by Mr Artigues claims the mayor blackmailed the staunch Conservative Catholic for eight years to prevent him from challenging the mayor.
The filming was organised by Mr Rossary-Lengle and Mr Kéfi-Jérome.
Mr Rossary-Lenglet told MediaPart in August: ‘It was ordered by Gaël Perdriau, the mayor and his [chief of staff], Pierre Gauttieri.’
When Mr Artigues was invited into the hotel room, Mr Kéfi-Jérome offered him a drink that Mr Artigues believes was drugged.
Mr Rossary-Lenglet claimed he was given €50,000 from Saint-Etienne townhall to obtain the tape.
Mr Artigues became aware of the tape 18 months after it was shot, Mr Kéfi-Jérome claimed.
The education official allegedly showed a ‘teaser’ clip to Mr Artigues called: ‘In bed with Gilles Artigues.’
MediaPart released what it said were recordings of the mayor with his chief of staff discussing their involvement in the alleged ambush.
In one meeting, according to the report, Mr Gauttieri tells Mr Artigues: ‘I’ve got a video showing your bum in the air with a bloke. Doesn’t that worry you?’
He adds, MediaPart reported, that if Mr Artigues tells the authorities, he will send copies of the tape to all parents and guardians of the school his children attend.
The report claims the mayor then can be heard saying: ‘There are other ways of doing it, we are not obliged to spread it publicly.’
‘Once this is on social media, it’s no longer blackmail, it’s an execution,’ he added, the report adds.
‘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 on 8 September.
Mr Perdriau and Mr Gauttieri have both denied any wrongdoing.
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