France: Marine Le Pen targeted in European anti-fraud report

The right-wing extremist candidate for the French presidential election, Marine Le Pen, and her relatives are accused of having embezzled around 600,000 euros in European public funds during their term as MEPs.

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The accusation comes from the European Anti-Fraud Office, according to a new report published by French information site Mediapart and submitted to the French judiciary on Saturday.

When asked by AFP, the Paris prosecutor confirmed that they received this report on March 11, which is currently being analyzed.

“I’m surprised by the always strong timing of disclosure” and its “instrumentalization,” Me Rodolphe Bosselut, Marine Le Pen’s lawyer, responded to AFP in the campaign for the second round of the presidential elections, which will take place on April 24, and where she will face off against incumbent center President Emmanuel Macron.

Me Bosselut also says he is “dismayed by the way Olaf (European Anti-Fraud Office) is acting in a non-contradictory manner” and by “old facts of more than ten years” for some.

Marine Le Pen “was not summoned by any French judicial authority,” he added, also regretting that neither he nor his client were recipients of the final report.

According to him, the investigation into Olaf has been open since 2016 and Ms Le Pen was interrogated by mail in March 2021.

Olaf’s new report, excerpts of which Mediapart publishes, concerns the fees that political groups can use within the scope of their mandate as MPs, which Marine Le Pen and her relatives would have used for national political purposes, for personal expenses or for services to Parliament to benefit from party-affiliated companies, the Reich Party Congress (RN) and the right-wing extremist group Europe of Nations and Freedoms (ENL).

Olaf implicates Marine Le Pen, three other former MPs – her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, her former companion Louis Aliot and Bruno Gollnisch, member of the RN’s national bureau – and the ENL.

The office accuses them of having embezzled around 600,000 euros, of which it recommends reimbursement.

According to the report, the candidate for the National Assembly is said to have personally embezzled around 137,000 euros in public funds from the Parliament of Strasbourg during her time as an MEP between 2004 and 2017.

Since June 2017, Marine Le Pen has also been accused of suspected bogus jobs in the European Parliament by party assistants in the investigations conducted in Paris.

She is charged as part of these investigations with “embezzlement of public funds” and “complicity” in this offence.

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