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Europe

French President Macron’s ex-bodyguard Benalla faces fresh criminal charges

media Elysee senior security officer Alexandre Benalla stands next to French President Emmanuel Macron during a visit to the Paris International Agricultural Show (Salon de l'Agriculture) in Paris, France, February 24, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/Pool

French President Emmanuel Macron’s former top security aide Alexandre Benalla, who caused a political storm after it emerged he had roughed up protesters at a May Day demonstration, is facing further charges.

Benalla, 26, is already facing two criminal charges after videos emerged of him manhandling demonstrators on May 1 in Paris while wearing a police helmet and armband.

He was charged on November 29 with two more offences over events earlier during the protest in which he allegedly participated "actively in the questioning" of a man.

Benalla is accused of "interference in the exercise of a public function" and "deliberate violence", according to the source.

Revelations that top officials in Macron's office knew about the incidents but did not report Benalla to prosecutors earlier prompted accusations of an attempted cover-up, which the government denied.

Instead, Benalla was given a two-week suspension days after the incident and removed from organising the president's security during his trips.

Video of alleged attack by Taha Bouhafs of la France Insoumise

He was not sacked or charged until the scandal broke in July amid reports he enjoyed perks unusual for someone of his rank.

Benalla later defended his actions during the protest, saying through his lawyer that he was "lending a hand".

Questioned by three judges in court on November 29, he again defended his actions saying he "helped the police to question a violent delinquent who had just committed a serious offence against police".

He was previously charged with assault, impersonating a police officer and illegally receiving police surveillance footage in a bid to claim his actions were justified.

Vincent Crase, an associate and security agent employed by Macron's Republic on the Move (LREM) party who was also at the scene, has also been charged, as have three police officers.

Alexandre Benalla at Emmanuel Macron's side at the Agriculture Fair in Paris, March 2018 Christophe Ena/AP

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