Head of French cultural body resigns over €40,000 cab bill

GMT 19:34 2015 Tuesday ,28 April

Arab Today, arab today Head of French cultural body resigns over €40,000 cab bill

Agnes Saal, President of the INA
Paris - AFP

The head of a major French public body that manages the country's TV and radio archives was forced to resign Tuesday after reportedly spending more than 40,000 euros in cab rides in 10 months.

Agnes Saal found herself at the centre of controversy this week when Le Figaro daily revealed her exorbitant spending on cabs.

The scandal was compounded by the fact her son was allegedly responsible for 6,700 euros ($7,350) of the 40,000 euros in taxi rides.

Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin asked Saal, 57, to resign with immediate effect, the ministry said Tuesday.

Saal had been head since April last year of France's National Audiovisual Institute, a public body that preserves and promotes the country's radio and TV heritage.

She replaced Mathieu Gallet, who is now head of French public radio and also landed himself in hot water this month by reportedly renovating his office to the tune of 100,000 euros and hiring a PR consultant on a 90,000-euro salary, just as he was preparing a cost-cutting plan.

Anti-corruption association Anticor had threatened to go to court if Saal did not step down.

"It's about public money and significant amounts of money," Anticor head Jean-Christophe Picard told Le Parisien daily on Tuesday.

"Anyone with rudiments of accounting would start at such sums."

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