France's Le Pen Put Under Formal Investigation Over EU Funds

France's Le Pen under formal investigation over alleged misuse of EU funds
Sylvain Lefevre Getty Images
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02 July, 2017

Le Pen has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and claimed the allegations are political "persecution" against her.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front party, who made a failed bid for the French Presidency against Emmanuel Macron this spring, has been charged with criminal breach of trust for allegedly defrauding with fake jobs the Parliament of the European Union of Euro 5 million (USD 5.7 million) in EU funding.

Instead, investigators say this money was used to pay for staffers working for Le Pen's National Front.

Prosecutors placed her under formal investigation for breach of trust. Five million euro ($5.4 million) in parliament funds was allegedly paid to about 40 party staffers beginning in 2012, who were not working for members of the European Parliament but rather on party issues.

The case was first triggered by a complaint about the National Front to the European Parliament.

During the Presidential election Marine Le Pen made inroads with white conservative gay voters by playing off concerns about Islamic extremism - despite pledging to repeal the country's 2013 same-sex marriage law.

Moon urges Japan to offer apology
You want to start a dialogue without any concessions by the North Koreans. "Aren't you giving in to them?" asked the US interviewer.

Le Pen's bodyguard Thierry Legier was also questioned by investigators but was not charged.

"It makes no sense", National Front vice president Florian Philippot, Le Pen's top lieutenant, said on the BFM-TV station.

Those pictures saw her placed under investigation for the "dissemination of violent images".

The charges were confirmed by Mr Rodolphe Bosselut, Ms Le Pen's lawyer, in an interview with the BFMTV news channel on Friday. The case goes to trial if they do. She had however promised to cooperate with the investigation after the May presidential and June parliamentary elections were over.

The formal investigation of Le Pen comes less than two weeks after she won a seat in the French National Assembly.

Some leading politicians are now living under a cloud of suspicion as to whether they misused funds meant to pay aides' salaries.


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