EU anti-fraud body accuses France's Marine Le Pen of embezzlement | The Straits Times

PARIS (AFP) – The EU’s anti-fraud body has accused French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and associates of embezzling around €600,000 (S$880,000) during their time as MEPs, French website Mediapart said on Saturday (April 16), quoting a new report.

The allegations come just over a week before Le Pen goes head-to-head with incumbent Emmanuel Macron in the second round of presidential elections.

Her lawyer dismissed the accusations, raising suspicions over the “timing” of the report.

Mediapart published extracts from the new report by OLAF into expenses that political groups can make as part of their mandate as MEPs.

The agency accuses Le Pen and others of having used the funds for national political purposes, personal expenses or for services that would benefit commercial companies close to her National Rally party and the far-right parliamentary group, Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF).

The report points the finger at Le Pen and three other former members of the European parliament including her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, her ex-partner Louis Aliot and former far-right MEP Bruno Gollnisch.

The body accuses the four of having embezzled around €600,000, which it recommends they repay.

According to the report, Le Pen personally embezzled around €137,000 worth of public money from the Strasbourg parliament when she was an MEP between 2004 and 2017.

“I’m surprised by the timing of such a strong disclosure” and the “instrumentalisation”, Le Pen’s lawyer, Rodolphe Bosselut, told AFP.

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