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  Marine Le Pen under formal investigation over use of EU funds
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Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Jun 30, 2017 09:53pm
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AuthorAngelique Chrisafis
News DateFriday, June 30, 2017 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionMarine 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.

Le Pen’s lawyer said she had been summoned by investigating magistrates in Paris and “as expected” had been placed under formal investigation for breach of trust. She will appeal against the decision.

Under French law, being put under formal investigation means there is “serious or consistent evidence” that points to probable involvement in a crime. It is a step towards a trial, though investigations can be dropped without proceeding to court.

The case was triggered by a complaint from the European parliament, which accused the Front National of defrauding it on a large scale. An investigation by a European parliament watchdog claimed that between 2011 and 2012 Le Pen had illicitly paid party staff for Front National work using money that should only be used for MEPs to pay assistants for legislative tasks.

In February, the European parliament said it would start docking Le Pen’s pay unless she paid the money back.

Le Pen has denied any wrongdoing and denied the allegations which she called political “persecution” of her.
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