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Olivier Marleix: “This lawless zone goes against public interests”

In an interview with Les Echos, the deputy explains why investment banks in relation to the State should comply with the rules of transparency for lobbyists. They do not risk, according to him, to commit insider trading.

Olivier Marleix, chairman of the parliamentary commission of inquiry on the sale of industrial jewels to foreign groups, calls for the decree on lobbyists to be revised to include investment banks. / AFP PHOTO / Thomas Samson

Why should investment banks comply with the constraints of lobbyists?

What our commission of inquiry revealed is that investment banks contact the Elysée Palace or representatives of the executive to defend the merits of their clients’ transactions without their steps ever being traced. . This lawless zone where one negotiates in a clandestine way therefore goes against public interests and benefits investment banks, from which the “success fees” flow directly. This does not allow the State to operate, through the designated interlocutors, an informed control of these transfers where national and defense interests are at stake. , they would report on their efforts. It is a necessary safeguard against these influencing actions.

Applying for accreditation is not really lobbying. On the other hand, do they not risk committing insider trading?

Controlling foreign acquisitions in France is not limited, for the administration, to verifying the conditions of approval. The state has discretionary power. It is up to him to assess whether these transfers jeopardize national security, including economic security. As for the risk of committing insider trading, this argument does not hold water. They know how to manage confidentiality procedures linked to the communication constraints of the Financial Markets Authority or those of the competition authorities. Why couldn’t they do it with the state? The current constraints of the decree are, moreover, rather protective… The declarations are a posteriori of the mergers carried out and only aim to identify certain categories of public officials, in a non-nominative way.

What should the decree change?

We had long debates on the Sapin II law. Its rapporteur assured us that investment banks were identified, among others, as representatives of interests, and that it was therefore not necessary to table a specific amendment. I note that the decree of this law as it was arbitrated – and in a rather strange way moreover by the President of the Republic, and not as it is customary by Matignon – excludes these intermediaries. It would therefore suffice to delete the provisions of article 1 of the decree imposing a minimum time or number of transactions on lobbying.