The French prosecutor studies the report of the EU anti-fraud agency on Le Pen
PARIS (Reuters) – French prosecutors said Sunday they are examining a report by the European Union anti-fraud agency accusing far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and members of her party for embezzling thousands of euros in funds. EU.
Le Pen is challenging Emmanuel Macron in the presidential election with opinion polls showing Macron ahead in next Sunday’s second round ballot.
The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed that it was studying a report received on 11 March from the EU anti-fraud agency OLAF.
Investigative website Mediapart wrote on Saturday that the OLAF report alleged that Le Pen had embezzled 140,000 euros of public money with party members in total by hijacking 617,000 euros. No one is accused of making direct profit, but of requiring EU funds for staff and event expenses.
Le Pen’s office could not be reached immediately for comment.
“The French will not be fooled by the attempts of the European Union and the European institutions (…) to interfere in the presidential campaign and damage Marine Le Pen,” National Rally president Jordan Bardella told radio Europe 1.
He said his party has filed two legal complaints against OLAF and that he will file a third in response to the report.
Speaking to BFM TV, Le Pen’s attorney Rodolphe Bosselut said his client has denied the allegations. He said she had yet to be questioned and neither he nor Le Pen had seen the OLAF report.
Le Pen has been under investigation since 2017 as part of an investigation into the alleged misuse of EU funds to pay parliamentary assistants.
($ 1 = 0.9254 euros)
(Reported by Gilles Guillaume; writing by John Irish; editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)