Friendly society chief resigns

July 10, 1998

The director-general of one of France's biggest student social insurance societies has announced his resignation.

The Cour des Comptes (equivalent to the audit office) is investigating irregularities in the Mutuelle Nationale des Etudiants de France following allegations of embezzlement and cronyism, including lucrative jobs that have gone to socialist politicians and financing of party associations and electoral campaigns.

Olivier Spithakis has run the society, which marks its 50th anniversary in September, since 1983. The society organises social security cover for more than 800,000 students. It also offers student housing, canteens, cheap-rate access to cultural and sports events and driving lessons, and runs health and information centres and campaigns.

But the society is accused of diversifying into areas beyond the interests of its student members.

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