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France: Marine Le Pen targeted by a European anti-fraud report

The far-right candidate for the French presidential election Marine Le Pen and relatives are accused of having embezzled around 600,000 euros of European public money during their terms of office as MEPs.

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The accusation comes from the European anti-fraud office, according to a new report revealed on Saturday by the French information site Mediapart and submitted to French justice.

Asked by AFP, the Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed that it had received this report on March 11, which is currently being analyzed.

“I am surprised by the always strong timing about the revelation” and its “instrumentalization”, reacted to AFP Me Rodolphe Bosselut, the lawyer for Marine Le Pen, campaigning for the second round of the presidential election, which will take place on April 24, and where she will face centrist incumbent President Emmanuel Macron.

Me Bosselut also says he is “dismayed by the way Olaf acts (European anti-fraud office), without contradictory character” and on “old facts of more than ten years” for some.

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

According to him, Olaf’s investigation has been open since 2016 and Ms Le Pen was questioned by mail in March 2021.

Olaf’s new report, of which Mediapart publishes extracts, concerns the fees that political groups can use in the context of their mandate as MEPs and that Marine Le Pen and her relatives would have used for national political purposes, to personal expenses or for services for the benefit of commercial companies close to his party, the National Rally (RN) and the far-right parliamentary group Europe of Nations and Freedoms (ENL).

Olaf implicates Marine Le Pen, three other former MEPs – her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, her former companion Louis Aliot and Bruno Gollnisch, member of the national office of the RN -, 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 of the National Rally would have personally embezzled around 137,000 euros of public money from the Parliament of Strasbourg when she was an MEP between 2004 and 2017.

Since June 2017, Marine Le Pen has also been prosecuted in the investigation carried out in Paris on suspicion of fictitious jobs in the European Parliament of party assistants.

She is indicted for “embezzlement of public funds” and “complicity” in this offense as part of this investigation.