Identity thieves use French first lady's name to seek perks

FILE - In this Feb. 21, 2018 file photo, French President's wife Brigitte Macron waves at the Elysee Palace, in Paris. An aide to French first lady Brigitte Macron has filed a legal complaint over identity theft, after his accounts were apparently used to seek special Formula One tickets and other VIP treatment. The French presidential palace said Friday that an investigation is under way.(AP Photo/Francois Mori)

An aide to French first lady Brigitte Macron has filed a legal complaint over alleged identity theft, after his accounts were apparently used to seek upgrades in luxury hotels and other VIP treatment

PARIS — An aide to French first lady Brigitte Macron has filed a legal complaint over identity theft, after his accounts were apparently used to seek luxury hotel service, Formula One tickets and other VIP treatment.

The Paris prosecutor's office said Friday it opened a fraud investigation based on the complaint.

Hotels and other businesses in multiple countries received emailed requests from someone claiming to be Brigitte Macron's aide, according to a presidential official. Some businesses verified the requests with the Elysee Palace, alerting it to suspicious activity.

The requests included tickets for the Australian Grand Prix car race, special services at a luxury hotel in Morocco and elite reservations at top-scale Paris restaurants.

No one appeared to benefit from the requested perks, and it's unclear who was behind the dubious requests.

Brigitte Macron is not involved in the lawsuit, according to the presidential official, who was not authorized to be publicly named.

The first lady, a longtime teacher who was Macron's high school drama coach, has an office in the presidential palace. She travels frequently and promotes governmental activities such as education reform and improving opportunities for people with autism — and she's also godmother to France's first baby panda.

Separately, two Frenchmen went on trial this month for allegedly stealing Emmanuel Macron's online identity when he was running for president last year. Macron's campaign also said it was repeatedly targeted by hacking attempts.

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