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Minister to appoint Sciences Po head as report reveals ‘anomalies’

Geneviève Fioraso, France’s minister for higher education and research, plans to appoint an interim director at Sciences Po, the elite politics school in Paris, in the wake of an audit that found “anomalies” in the institution’s accounts.

But in an interview with Le Monde, Hervé Crès, who was appointed director against the minister’s instructions following the sudden death of his predecessor, said he would not be forced out of the post.

In a statement on 22 November Fioraso said that a report from the Cour des Comptes had revealed anomalies at the institution. The report describes the rapid expansion of Sciences Po, which has “practically doubled” in size since 2005, and says that there were “multiple and regular” irregularities including in the management of teaching researchers and an opaque senior staff bonus system “out of proportion” with the norm for higher education institutions.

Sciences Po is also criticised for taking out a “toxic” loan of €15 million without seeking proper approval from its administrative council and for an “excessive” use of credit cards among staff, 58 of whom were in possession of a card.

The court of auditors has referred several of the issues raised in its report to the Budget and Finance Disciplinary Court, which has the power to issue fines.

In his interview with Le Monde, Crès describes himself as a “victim” and argues that he was legitimately elected.