Searches took place "in particular in the premises of Nice Métropole, within the framework of a judicial investigation followed by the National Jurisdiction for the fight against organized crime (Junalco), in particular of the leaders of influence peddling, fraud in an organized gang , misuse of corporate and forged assets and use of forgery since November 2022," the Paris prosecutor's office said Thursday morning.
These searches relate to the project to build a building near the station, said a source familiar with the matter.
They concern the Iconic, a vast 19.000 m2 building under construction near Nice station, according to another source.
Other searches also took place during the day "in the offices of three elected officials from Nice", a source on the file told AFP.
A judicial source also indicated that searches had also been carried out at the homes of four people - in Paris, in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var - as well as at the headquarters of two companies in Paris and in the Alpes-Maritimes and in the regional premises of a Parisian company, also in the Alpes-Maritimes. Operations in the South were completed by early evening according to this source.
Jury of the "Gare Thiers-Est" competition
According to concordant sources, the three elected officials targeted by the searches were part of the jury for the "Gare Thiers-Est" competition, launched by the metropolis of Nice and which in 2016 awarded the Compagnie de Phalsbourg the creation of a real estate complex of nearly 19.000 m2, baptized "Iconic".
Questioned by AFP, the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolis indicated that "the members of the jury responded to the requests made by the investigators as part of their investigation".
Thursday morning, the metropolis had confirmed that a “search (was) in progress in a building west of the city which would concern the Iconic project”.
The city and the metropolis "are unaware of everything at this stage of the procedure on the nature or on the scope of the investigations", specified a press release sent to AFP, stressing that it was "asked to the director general of the services to give respond promptly to all requests made by the investigators".
“If it turns out that a public official is implicated in this procedure, the metropolis would then initiate suspension measures”, further indicated the metropolis.
The Iconic, a 19.000 m2 property complex designed by American architect Daniel Libeskind, includes a prestigious hotel, offices and shops. Its construction has been delayed and delivery is scheduled for spring 2023.