Tuesday, April 23, 2024
HomeE.U.French far-right leader accused of misusing EU funds

French far-right leader accused of misusing EU funds

If convicted, Marine Le Pen could face 10 years in prison, a €1 million fine and a 10-year ban from holding public office, according to Sky News.

The Paris prosecutor’s office launched an investigation in December 2016 to determine whether the then National Front diverted funds intended for EU parliamentary aides to compensate party staff.

While EU funds cover various politicians’ expenses, the sums were not intended to cover party expenses.

Last year, prosecutors announced they were probing a report by the EU’s anti-fraud agency OLAF on 11 March.

The report alleged that Ms Le Pen had misappropriated €140,000 of public money along with members of her party, spending a total of €617,000, which is also reported on the investigative website Mediapart.

Ms Le Pen’s party, now called the Rassemblement National, disagrees with the allegations and denies any wrongdoing.

We dispute this position which seems to be an erroneous understanding of the work of opposition lawmakers and their assistants, which is above all a political one.

Ms Le Pen potentially faces 10 years in prison, a €1m fine and a 10-year ban from holding public office because of her status as an elected official, according to prosecutors.

Rassemblement National, also known as the National Rally Party, was established in 1972 to consolidate the French nationalist movement. The party adheres to nationalist, nativist and anti-globalisation ideologies. It was founded by Marine Le Pen’s father Jean-Marie Le Pen and was led by him until his retirement in 2011.

Ms Le Pen and her colleagues are not accused of making a direct profit, but of using EU funds for staff and event expenses. Her lawyer Rodolphe Bosselut said at the time that his client would not admit the charges.

Last year, Marine Le Pen contested the second round of the French 2022 presidential election against Emmanuel Macron. She won 41.45 per cent of the vote, while her rival got 58.55 per cent of the vote.

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