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Benallagate 2.0? Ex Macron Aide Reportedly Visited Chad on Diplomatic Passport

© AP Photo / Christophe EnaEmmanuel Macron, center, flanked by his bodyguard, Alexandre Benalla, left, visits the Agriculture Fair in Paris, Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Emmanuel Macron, center, flanked by his bodyguard, Alexandre Benalla, left, visits the Agriculture Fair in Paris, Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - Sputnik International
Earlier this year, French President Emmanuel Macron’s former security aide Alexandre Benalla was involved in a scandal, now known as the Benalla affair, after a video showing him manhandling a May Day protester in Paris emerged.

Alexandre Benalla, former security aide to Emmanuel Macron, has once again found himself at the epicentre of a scandal while the French president struggles to cope with the Yellow Vests, Le Monde reported.

READ MORE: Macron's Approval Rating Hits Record Low in Light of Benalla Scandal — Poll

According to the French media outlet, Benalla visited Chad and Cameroon for high-level meetings this month, while the investigative website Mediapart claimed that he had travelled on a French diplomatic passport.

A picture taken on October 11, 2016 shows then French presidential election candidate for the En Marche! movement Emmanuel Macron (R) and Head of Security Alexandre Benalla (2ndR) arriving for a campaign meeting in Le Mans, western France - Sputnik International
Macron to Be Handicapped by Benalla Scandal Till End of His Term – Politician
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that on 26 July 2018, it had asked Benalla "to return the two diplomatic passports in his possession", issued on 20 September 2017 and 24 May 2018.

The reports suggest that Benalla met with Chadian President Idriss Deby, just days before Macron himself visited the African country.

Commenting on the reports, Benalla said that his trip was private and he was accompanying a “foreign business delegation” promoting major Mideast businesses, while Macron’s office told AFP that the former aide had not informed the president of his journey until afterwards.

When Macron arrived in Chad on December 22, he reportedly told Deby that Benalla was in “no way an unofficial or official intermediary”.

“Only the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the diplomatic adviser to the President, Philippe Etienne, and Franck Paris, the president’s Africa adviser, are representing the head of state”, Macron told Deby, according to his office’s response to Le Monde.

READ MORE: Macron Says Responsible for Assault Incident With Former Security Aide Benalla

On 22 December, Macron’s office Chief Patrick Strzoda wrote a letter to Benalla to warn him against revealing any confidential information he learned while working with the president.

“Let us be clear: we forbid you from claiming you have any kind of recommendation or tacit support from the presidency. With regard to your current personal activities, we ask you to ensure they are conducted with strict respect for the confidentiality and ethical responsibilities of your time in this office”, Le Monde cited the letter.

Benalla’s name first hit the headlines in summer, after a video of him beating a May Day protester in Paris while wearing a police riot helmet was unearthed online. He now faces charges of assault, impersonating an officer, and illicitly receiving CCTV footage of the May Day incident, although he denied any wrongdoing.

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