French President Emmanuel Macron maintained his reputation for sharp denunciations of systemic corruption by senior politicians on Sunday.
The president, his words spliced with features of incredulity and outright disdain, blamed those spreading the rumors about his finances on “the machinations of certain parliamentary movements.” He denied charges of a conflict of interest: “The truth is I don’t have foreign bank accounts, I’m in France,” he told a meeting of reporters. “These rumors are not true and I won’t stay silent.”
Many of those allegations date back years, and have been uncovered by the French media in the past few weeks. When his spokesman disclosed that Macron’s political party was at least partially financing its campaign with investments in tax havens, the president responded, “I don’t accept this zero-sum game.”
“Either we condemn corruption or we look the other way,” Macron added. “It’s embarrassing for France that this kind of question is asked in public in such an elementary fashion. It’s like asking the president if he smokes.”
He explained that he had spoken out because the campaign was ending and “the attacks were becoming dangerous and relentless.”
Macron was interviewed in public for the first time in four months on Sunday, a sign that he is mulling a second-round run for the presidency.
His comments came as the French media speculated about his future. One newsmagazine, l’Express, said that the president was considering a presidential run against the head of the National Front, Marine Le Pen. Another, Paris Match, said that Macron was proposing a three-month state of emergency.
This article has been updated to reflect a reference to two small French politicians.