Was Emmanuel Macron wearing an earpiece during the May 3rd debate?

Is that what sometimes made the debate between the two candidates on May 3rd impossible to listen to? Emmanuel Macron was wearing an earpiece. This is according to some websites known to be openly favorable to Marine Le Pen. The rumor was even shared by the the French parliamentarian Gilbert Collard (linked to the Front National) on his Twitter account. To support the argument, screenshots where one seems to be able to distinguish some elements of an image that could be that of a very discreet atrium were shared on social media. But, the images are so highly magnified and pixelated that they are near impossible to decipher.

However, in very clear photos taken during the same debate, no earpiece appears in the ear in question of the En Marche! candidate.

Both France 2 and TF1, the broadcasters that co-organized the debate, cut short this rumor. “France Televisions denies this story”, the public broadcaster told AFP, a partner of CrossCheck. “There were no headsets for the candidates during this debate, in conjunction with the production control room”, confirmed TF1’s director of communications.



Did Emmanuel Macron open an offshore account ?

This supposed scoop ended up looking more like a dud. On May 3rd, just before the Emmanuel Macron vs Marine Le Pen debate ahead of the second round, a person posted documents on an English-speaking forum supposedly offering “proof” of an offshore account opened by the En Marche! candidate. Marine Le Pen appears to have referred to this rumor during the debate by saying: “I hope that we will not learn that you had an offshore account in the Bahamas. The trajectory of the rumor’s propagation as well as incoherencies in the posted documents would suggest that the accusation is “fake”.

On May 4th the Paris’ prosecution service opened a preliminary investigation into “fake news aimed at diverting votes; fakes, the usage of fakes, and concealment of fakes, following Emmanuel Macron’s complaint against the circulation of the aforementioned documents on the internet.

The rumor’s origin already raises doubts regarding the authenticity of these alleged pieces of evidence. As The Huffington Post states, the rumor first appeared on the discussion forum 4chan, attracting pro-Trump activists in particular. A forum user posted two documents: a contract for the opening of an account in the tax haven of Saint Kitts and Nevis dating from 2012, and a 2015-dated fax linking this account and a group in the Cayman Islands, another Caribbean tax haven. The goal is clearly stated: “If we can get #MacronCacheCash” (#MacronHidesCash”) trending in France for the debates tonight, it might discourage French voters from voting Macron”.

The rumor was then published on an American conspiracy website, Disobedient Media, before being shared on social media and by some French websites close to the far-right.

On the morning of May 4th Macron’s team published a detailed denial of this rumor, before lodging an official complaint.

Several elements in the documents raise questions, from the opening date of the account (May 4th, 2012, the day before François Hollande became president), to Emmanuel Macron’s signature which differs from the one used in the program En Marche!, notably in the letter “M” of Macron.


Signature in the supposed contract           Signature in the En Marche! program

According to an offshore contracts’ specialist who asked to remain anonymous, “these types of documents are never signed by the person concerned; it is precisely the aim of these kinds of deposits: to remain anonymous”.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting local financial authorities, states that no firm by the name of La Providence has been registered in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Moreover, there are numerous errors in the current contact information of First Caribbean bank. In the 2015 fax the website’s URL address is not the correct one, and the postal code and fax number do not match either.

Furthermore, a technical analysis of the two documents shows that they were scanned on the morning of May 3rd. A piece of software which enables the extraction of images from a PDF file strengthens the suspicion that the signature page of the contract and fax were edited.  In both cases the software extracts three images when it should only extract one if the document was authentic.

On May 5th, a user claiming to be the source of the document leak republished them in better quality on the 4chan.org forum.



Did Brigitte Macron launch a survey on Twitter which came out in favor of Marine Le Pen?

Several websites campaigning against Emmanuel Macron, such as Fdesouche.comresistancerepublicaine.eu and lagauchematuer.fr claimed that the candidate’s wife quickly erased her Twitter account after launching a survey on April 29th regarding second round votes, due to the result being favorable to Marine Le Pen. However, Brigitte Macron’s supposed Twitter account turned out to be a fake account.

“We are launching a little poll 1 week before the election! Who are you supporting in the second round?”, can be read in the screenshot of a Tweet from the account @BMacronOff which uses a picture of Brigitte Macron. The tweet was used widely by the aforementioned websites. The survey results vary depending on the time at which the screenshot was taken, but all of them name Marine Le Pen as the winner with a large majority (63 to 73% of voters).

“Brigitte Macron launches a poll about the second round, and the result is not what she expected”, states website lagauchematuer.fr. “Brigitte Macron received a slap in the face with her online poll“, adds resistancerepublicaine.eu. The far-right website Fdesouche.com wondered if Mrs Macron did not suppress these polls “because of the results”, before deleting its own article which CrossCheck found thanks to an internet archival tool.

The reason for this turnaround is quite simple: many elements reveal that Brigitte Macron has no connection with the Twitter account @BMacronOff. This account is not certified by Twitter, yet almost every public personality (and certainly political ones) are certified by Twitter. Furthermore, the account @BMacronOff was not active before the poll, and has since been suspended.

When contacted by Le Monde, a CrossCheck project partner, Emmanuel Macron’s campaign team confirmed that Brigitte Macron did not own any Twitter account.



Did Richard Ferrand finance an anti-zionist association ?

Richard Ferrand, likely future minister of Macron, finances the hatred of the Jews,” claimed www.dreuz.info on April 25. This site, which claims to be “conservative, Christian and pro-Israel”, denounced the funding granted by the deputy of Finistère “with its 2016 parliamentary reserve” to the France Palestine Solidarity Association (AFPS), labelling the association as both “anti-Zionist” and “anti-Semitic “.

Although the AFPS criticizes Israeli policy, it does not contest Israel’s right to exist, and the donation made by the secretary-general of En Marche!, to the amount of 2,000 euros, concerns only one humanitarian project carried out by the association founded in France in May 2001.

To support its accusations of anti-Zionism, www.dreuz.info noted that the AFPS supported the call for a boycott of Israeli products by the BDS movement (Boycott, Disinvestment, Sanctions), declared illegal by the French justice system, and accused of “complacency towards Hamas”.

It fails, however, to specify that the AFPS is part of the National Collective for a Just and Sustainable Peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

In its statutes, the AFPS further states that its purpose is “to work for the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East based on the recognition of the national rights of the Palestinian people on the basis of international law” .

Richard Ferrand, the right-hand man of Emmanuel Macron, reacted on his blog on March 26, 2017, soon after the rumor appeared in other publications.

“I donated € 2,000 of ‘my’ parliamentary reserve to support a project of providing equipment for a class of girls in the camp of El Aroub in Palestine,” he said in his post: “To finish a rumor from the fachosphere “.

“This territory is twinned with the commune of Carhaix located in my electoral district (I live in Motreff, the village immediately next door) .The project was carried by the central Brittany branch of the France-Palestine Association, through its head Jean-Pierre Jeudy, honorary mayor, retired professor, as well as with various people involved in local community life,” he added.