Marine Le Pen of France's Front National placed under formal investigation

Jul 02, 2017, 01:29
Marine Le Pen of France's Front National placed under formal investigation

"She is obviously 24 hours out of 24 both the president of the National Front and a European deputy".

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right Front National, has been placed under formal investigation over allegations that her party illegally claimed millions of euros from the European parliament to pay for France-based staff.

They believe the money went to paying FN employees in France, rather than those working in Brussels.

The allegations concern spending by the Front National, the far-right political party of which Ms Le Pen is leader.

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The case was triggered by a complaint from the European parliament, which accused the Front National of defrauding it on a large scale.

Le Pen also faces an investigation into the financing of past election campaigns and a probe into her tweeting of pictures of Islamic State violence.

In a statement, her lawyer said she would launch an appeal. Because of that, she had been placed under investigation for "dissemination of violent images".

Le Pen denies the charges against her, but is now under active investigation concerning the appropriation of at least €5m ($5.4m).

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The charges were confirmed by Mr Rodolphe Bosselut, Ms Le Pen's lawyer, in an interview with the BFMTV news channel on Friday.

Le Pen had twice refused summonses from authorities while campaigning, first for the French presidential election which she lost May 7 to Emmanuel Macron, then for a lawmaker's seat in the French National Assembly which she won on June 18.

If tried and convicted, Le Pen faces up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to Euro 375,000 (USD 425,000), although it is unlikely she would receive a custodial sentence.

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.

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