And the British newspaper “The Guardian” said that the French investigative website Mediapart published a section of the new report consisting of 116 reports alleging that MEPs misused EU funds for party-related purposes.
A spokesman for the far-right National Assembly party questioned the timing of the accusations. Le Pen’s lawyer, Rodolphe Posselot, told AFP that he was “amazed at the way Olaf [European Fraud Office] is acting”. He insisted that some of the reports related to “old facts over 10 years old”.
“Marine Le Pen rejects these allegations. She is challenging it without being able to see the details of the accusation. It’s manipulation, unfortunately, I’m not surprised,” Bosselot told French channel BFMTV.
According to Mediapart, the European Anti-fraud Office sent the report to French investigators in March. Le Pen is accused of transferring nearly 137,000 euros in EU funds personally during her tenure as a member of the European Parliament between 2004 and 2017.
Her ex-partner and former vice-chairman of the party, Louis Elliott, who is now mayor of Perpignan, was also mentioned in the report as having misused public money.
All denied any wrongdoing.
In one incident reported by Mediapart, Marine Le Pen was said to have submitted a claim in 2010 for 5,000 euros for hotel rooms for 13 members of the far-right party to participate in a conference entitled European regions and the financial crisis. However, one of the participants allegedly wrote to the European Parliament and claimed that the meeting was intended to discuss the leadership of the party.
The unnamed participant told investigators that Le Pen had hung a European flag in the way for a photo op, then ordered her colleagues to “get rid of that shit.” The Paris prosecutor’s office said the file was “under examination”.
None of those mentioned in the report were accused of personal profiteering, but of claiming EU funds to pay for the National Rally Party – formerly the National Front (FN) – and its events. Le Pen said she was not aware of any wrongdoing.
Le Pen has been under investigation since 2018 over allegations of “breach of trust” and “misuse of public funds” over the alleged use of EU funds for European parliamentary aides to fund the salaries of party staff. That same year, an EU court ruled that the bloc could recover more than 41,000 euros in public funds that Le Pen used to pay her bodyguard, a former soldier who has been her father’s security for 20 years.
Bossilot said Le Pen “has not been summoned by any French judicial authority” and accused European authorities of failing to send the final report to him or Le Pen. He said the European Anti-fraud Office investigation was opened in 2016 and Le Pen was questioned by mail in March 2021.
The latest poll suggests Macron could win the runoff next week by 10 percentage points. Both candidates are trying to woo supporters of the radical leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who narrowly failed to qualify for the second round.