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Paris prosecutors targeting Le Pen – media

A probe has reportedly been launched into the politician’s allegedly “illegal” financing of her presidential campaign in 2022

French prosecutors have launched an investigation into “suspicious or illegal financing” by Marine Le Pen and the right-wing National Rally (RN) party during the 2022 presidential election, the BFMTV news outlet reported on Tuesday, citing sources.

According to the outlet, a judicial enquiry was opened after the French National Commission for Campaign Accounts and Political Financing (CNCCFP) filed a report with the courts last April. Under French law, election candidates are prohibited from exceeding established spending limits during their campaigns. If this condition is met, the state reimburses part of their expenses. If not, the CNCCFP can make changes to the electoral accounts, reduce the amount of compensation due to the candidate and, if deemed necessary, report the case for investigation.

The commission reportedly found discrepancies with several 2022 campaigns, but only Le Pen’s case has so far become the subject of a probe, BFMTV claimed. It is unclear what punishment either Le Pen or the RN could face if the probe yields evidence of illegalities. Neither has so far commented on the report.

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The news comes after the RN, which performed strongly in the EU parliamentary vote last month, finished third in the second round of voting in French elections at the weekend, behind the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble coalition. While the New Popular Front bloc emerged with 182 seats, it failed to secure an overall majority, with the French government now having to deal with a hung parliament.

Le Pen, along with her father and RN founder Jean-Marie, is also currently at the center of an embezzlement probe. The case is based on suspicions that both Le Pens and other RN members elected to the European Parliament improperly used parliamentary funds in a fake jobs scheme starting from 2004. Le Pen and her party have denied any wrongdoing.

The trial opens in Paris in September. If convicted, she faces up to ten years in prison and a ban on standing for office. All the suspected parties also face fines of up to double the funds allegedly embezzled. The scheme reportedly cost the European Parliament an estimated €6.8 million ($7.4 million).

July 09, 2024 at 03:34PM

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