Le Pen under formal probe in European Union fund misuse case

02 July, 2017, 01:30 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • France's Marine Le Pen charged over funding scandal

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

The National Front has denied the allegations.

Leader of France's far-right National Front (FN) party Marine Le Pen was placed under formal investigation over the alleged use of a European Parliament fund to pay her party's staff.

The European Parliament believes the money went to National Front employees working for the party in France rather than those working for the party's lawmakers in Brussels.

The breach of trust charges are related to a wider probe into the alleged misuse of European Union funds by the far-right party.

Le Pen has already had her parliamentary immunity lifted over a separate case from 2015 when she shared graphic pictures of atrocities committed by the Islamic State group on her Twitter account.

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The case was brought as a result of a complaint from the European parliament which accused FN of defrauding it on a large scale. Because of that, she had been placed under investigation for "dissemination of violent images".

"There is nothing illegal", Florian Philippot, the party's vice president, said.

Le Pen plans to file an urgent demand Monday at the Appeals Court asking that the preliminary charges be annulled due to "the violation of the principle of separation of powers", her lawyer, Rodolphe Bosselut, said in a statement. At the end of their work, they will have to decide whether to send the case to trial or dismiss it.

Other European parliamentarians, including Le Pen's father Jean-Marie Le Pen and her companion Louis Aliot, have also been investigated for allegedly misusing parliamentary aides' wages.

Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, came a distant second during her bid for the French Presidency earlier this year, losing out to Emmanuel Macron.

A session of European Parliament in June 2017.

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