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Prosecutors examine report accusing Le Pen of embezzling EU funds

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French prosecutors are examining a report by the EU’s anti-fraud agency accusing far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and members of her party of embezzling thousands of euros worth of EU funds while they were MEPs.

he leader of the Rassemblement National (National Assembly) is challenging Emmanuel Macron in a presidential election, with opinion polls showing Mr Macron has a lead in next Sunday’s second runoff.

Paris prosecutors confirmed yesterday that they are examining a report received on March 11 from EU anti-fraud agency Olaf.

Investigative website Mediapart wrote on Saturday that the Olaf Report alleges Ms Le Pen embezzled €137,000 in public funds as an MP between 2004 and 2017, with party members siphoning a total of more than €617,000.

According to Mediapart,
three other ex-MPs – including Ms Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and National Assembly colleagues Louis Aliot and Bruno Gollnisch – and a former far-right European Parliament umbrella group, Europe of Nations and Freedom directly involved in the Olaf investigation.

Nobody is accused of direct profit, but the use of EU funds for personnel and event costs.

According to the report quoted by Mediapart, the behavior of the four MEPs “endangered the reputation of the Union’s institutions”.

Ms. Le Pen’s office could not be immediately reached for comment.

“The French will not be fooled by attempts by the European Union and European institutions to interfere in the presidential campaign and harm Marine Le Pen,” Jordan Bardella, president of the National Rally, told Europe 1 radio.

He said his party had filed two legal complaints against Olaf and would file a third in response to the report.

Speaking to BFM TV, Ms Le Pen’s lawyer, Rodolphe Bosselut, said his client denied the charges.

He said she was yet to be interrogated and that neither he nor Ms. Le Pen had seen the Olaf report.

Ms Le Pen has been under investigation since 2017 as part of an investigation into the alleged misuse of European Union funds to pay parliamentary assistants.

https://www.independent.ie/business/world/prosecutors-examine-report-accusing-le-pen-of-misappropriating-eu-funds-41562080.html Prosecutors examine report accusing Le Pen of embezzling EU funds

Fry Electronics Team

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