The European Union’s anti-fraud body has accused Marine Le Pen of embezzling approximately €620,000 along with several fellow party members, including her father.
French website Mediapart published part of a report by the agency which alleges the misuse of EU funds for national party purposes by those accused, whilst serving as members of the European parliament.
A spokesperson for the Rassemblement National party criticized the timing of the accusations, with Le Pen facing off against Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the French presidential election on April 24th.
Rodolphe Bosselut, Le Pen’s lawyer, said he was “dismayed” by the way the agency was acting, insisting that the accusations related to “old facts, more than 10 years old”.
“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,” he told the French channel BFMTV.
Le Pen stands personally accused of diverting almost €137,000 of EU funds whilst serving as an MEP between 2004 and 2017.
Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has also been accused in the report. Louis Aliot, Le Pen’s former partner and an ex-vice-president of the party, also stands accused, along with Bruno Gollnisch, another party heavyweight.
This is not the first time Le Pen has been accused of misusing EU funds. Le Pen was handed preliminary charges in 2018, accused of using EU aides for unauthorized party political activity. Other French political parties also faced similar accusations.