FILE PHOTO: French general secretary of the presidency Alexis Kohler arrives at the Elysee Palace to attend the first weekly cabinet meeting of the year in Paris

Paris - One of French President Emmanuel Macron's closest confidants, Alexis Kohler, is being investigated for an alleged conflict of interest, the state financial prosecutor confirmed Monday.

The investigation focuses on whether Kohler - who is the current general secretary at the Elysee Palace - breached civil service rules in his involvement with Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

Kohler previously worked in France's investment agency - referred to as Agence des participations de l'Etat - and as a senior official in the economy ministry, before joining MSC in 2016.

The prosecutor is interested in whether he gave unfair influence to MSC while he worked for the economy ministry, with the company attaining a number of key state contracts during this time.

Kohler, who worked for several months as MSC's finance director, is related to the family that owns the company through his mother, the daily newspaper Le Monde reported on its website.

According to a statement released by the prosecutor, the investigation was launched in light of the information published by French media.

The investigators are interested in whether conflict of interest rules for civil servants have been respected, but made no reference to a separate complaint filed against Kohler by anti-corruption organization Anticor.

The Elysee Palace responded that Kohler had taken note of the complaint and dismissed the allegations as completely unfounded, said news agency AFP.