French elections: Le Pen savages President Emmanuel Macron's term
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Le Pen has been accused of embezzling over €100,000 (£83,000) during the time she worked for the European Parliament. The National Rally candidate’s staff have claimed the Brussels bloc has been “coming to the aid” of Emmanuel Macron ahead of what is thought to be a tight race for the presidency in next week’s vote.
French news outlet Mediapart revealed that the European anti-fraud office, Olaf, accused Ms Le Pen and three former MEPs, including her father Jean-Marie Le Pen and former partner Bruno Gollnisch, of mishandling European Parliament funds.
The report also alleged that the presidential candidate personally misappropriated approximately €137,000 (£113,000) of public money from Strasbourg between 2004 and 2017 when she was an MEP.
Ms Le Pen’s lawyer Rodolphe Bosselut told Agence France-Presse he was “dismayed by the way that Olaf if acting” and he insisted that some elements of the report relate to “old facts, more than 10 years old”.
He added: “Marine Le Pen contests this. She contests it without having had access to the details of the accusation.
“It’s a manipulation; unfortunately, I’m not surprised.”
The report was revealed on the weekend and by Sunday French prosecutors confirmed they have begun examining the claim.
Ms Le Pen has been under investigation since 2018 for “breach of trust” and “misuse of public funds” over the suspected use of EU money for European parliamentary aides to fund the salaries of party staff.
It has been claimed by representatives of Ms Le Pen’s National Rally party that the accusations have been made to damage the party leader ahead of their debate this week and the final vote.
National Rally spokesman Laurent Jacobelli claimed: “Each time she is a candidate, there is a stink ball a few days before the election.
“It usually comes from elsewhere in the European Union in one way or another.”
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He added: “Twisted blows, lies, verbal abuse…I think the Macron team is so weak that they are up for anything.
“The European Union is coming to the aid of its little soldier.”
The latest poll suggests that the French President could win the runoff with a 10 point lead.
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