French Far-right's Le Pen Faces Funding Scandal Probe

Voters Cast Their 1st Round Presidential Ballots in France

France's far-right figurehead Marine Le Pen has been placed under formal investigation over alleged misuse of funds.

The Parliament suspects the money went to 20 National Front assistants who were not really working for Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), but were engaged in National Front party work in France. Le Pen is one of 17 Front National MEPs who are being investigated along with 40 of their assistants, Le Monde reports.

The case was brought as a result of a complaint from the European parliament which accused FN of defrauding it on a large scale. Her lawyer said she denies the charges and will fight to get the investigation suspended.

Le Pen, who is being investigated for breach of trust, has previously denied any wrongdoing in a case that she has said is politically motivated.

At the time, Le Pen was competing closely with ultimate victor Macron.


Those pictures saw her placed under investigation for the "dissemination of violent images".

"It makes no sense", National Front vice president Florian Philippot, Le Pen's top lieutenant, said on the BFM-TV station.

Marine Le Pen, leader of French far-right National Front (FN) party, delivers a statement after polls closed for the first round of the French legislative elections in Henin-Beaumont, northern France, 11 June 2017.

The charges were confirmed by Mr Rodolphe Bosselut, Ms Le Pen's lawyer, in an interview with the BFMTV news channel on Friday. Three of his ministers bowed out of their jobs shortly after being appointed - the justice, defense and European affairs ministers - over concerns they could be caught in the investigations into the political use of salaries to parliamentary aides.

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.

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