EU fraud agency investigating French Presidential candidate Le Pen
OLAF accused party members of “grave violations” and said the “inappropriate behavior” of members of National Rally — formerly called the National Front — “imperiled the reputation of the Union’s institutions,” according to Mediapart.
According to Mediapart, the OLAF report found that Le Pen, her firebrand father and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, and other party members who served in the European Parliament used 617,000 euros of public money for “fictitious” reasons, notably for the benefit of companies close to the party.
Among several legal affairs that have dogged her party, Le Pen was handed preliminary charges in 2018 based on a separate investigation by OLAF accusing members of her party of using aides on the European Parliament’s payroll for the party’s political activity.
EU fraud agency OLAF submitted its latest report last month to the Paris prosecutor’s office, which is “in the course of analyzing it,” the prosecutor’s office said Monday.
Paris prosecutors are studying a report by the European Union's fraud agency accusing French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and other members of her nationalist party of misusing public funds while serving in the European Parliament.
Le Pen denied wrongdoing, dismissing the report as “foul play by the European Union a few days before the second round" of the election.
A similar EU fraud investigation was disclosed ahead of the 2017 French presidential election, which Le Pen lost to Macron. The fraud office is reportedly seeking reimbursement of the funds and potential fraud and embezzlement charges.
Macron, a pro-EU centrist, leads Le Pen in polls ahead of Sunday’s vote, though the race is tighter than when they faced off in 2017.
Le Pen, who served in the European Parliament from 2004-2017, smiled for selfies as she met with hundreds of voters Monday in the Normandy town of Saint-Pierre-en-Auge. Speaking Monday on a campaign stop in Normandy, she said, “I am well accustomed to this, and I think the French will absolutely not fall for it.”