French traffic tsar quits amid fine-dodging claims

French traffic tsar quits amid fine-dodging claims
"Mr. Speed Camera," France's traffic tsar, resigned on Tuesday amid claims he used public funds to pay his own parking and speeding fines. Photo: Philippe Huguen/AFP
The chief of the French agency that handles traffic violations, nicknamed 'Mr. Speed Camera,' resigned on Tuesday, amid a police investigation into claims he used public funds to pay his own raft of speeding and parking fines.

Jean-Jacques Debacq, head of France’s national traffic violations agency, resigned on Tuesday amid allegations he used public funds to pay his own fines.

Debacq “has presented his resignation to [Interior] Minister Manuel Valls, who has accepted it,” ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet was quoted as saying by French daily Le Parisien.

French police launched an investigation after investigative news site Mediapart reported last Monday that Debacq, nicknamed “Mr Speed Camera” by parts of the French press, had nearly €700 ($950) worth of his own fines paid out of the department's budget.

Mediapart reported on Monday that Debacq, head of the ANTAI agency that processes tickets issued by speed cameras, had fines on his Peugeot 508 service vehicle paid for by his department.

The site said the fines related to about a dozen traffic violations and alleged that Debacq also used his position to avoid losing points on his driver's licence.

Mediapart claimed more than half of the traffic violations paid for by Debacq's department were for speeding, with the rest related to parking offences.

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