France launches embezzlement inquiry into Chad's President Mahamat Idriss Déby

French prosecutors have ordered an inquiry into allegations that Chad's president embezzled public funds for a shopping spree on luxury clothing from Paris.

Investigators have reportedly been looking into "the clothing expenses of Chad President Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno" since January, according to sources who spoke to the French AFP news wire, upon request of anonymity.

In December, French investigative outlet Mediapart published a story in which it alleged that the Chadian leader – through two bank transfers – spent more than €900,000 on suits, shirts and other luxury items from the French capital.

A spokesman for the Chadian presidency, Armand Gambaye Ndjegoltar Ndjerakor, said he hoped the investigation would "establish the truth and dispel the intention of harming the reputation of the Chadian president".

He said the president preferred traditional Chadian clothing to suits, accusing an adviser of "political manipulation".

Ndjegoltar said that the adviser had bought Western outfits for the leader that he wore only "two or three times", and that did not know how they were purchased.

Déby succeeded his father as leader of Chad – one of the poorest countries in the world – in April 2021, aged just 37.

It said a spokesman for the Chadian presidency did not respond to a request for comment on the origin of the funds.

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