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French prosecutor studies European law enforcement agency’s report on Le Pen By Reuters



© Reuters. Marine Le Pen, candidate of France’s far-right National Rally (National Rally) party in the 2022 French presidential election, gestures during a campaign meeting in Avignon, France, April 14, 2022. REUTERS/ Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) – French prosecutors said on Sunday they were examining a report by the European Union’s anti-fraud agency accusing far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and members of her party of embezzling thousands euros from European funds.

Le Pen is challenging Emmanuel Macron in a presidential election with opinion polls showing Macron leading in the second round of voting next Sunday.

The Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed that it was studying a report received from OLAF, the European anti-fraud agency, on March 11.

Investigative site Mediapart wrote on Saturday that the OLAF report claimed Le Pen embezzled 140,000 euros of public money, with party members embezzling a total of 617,000 euros. None are accused of making a direct profit, but of claiming EU funds for staff and event costs.

Le Pen’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

“The French will not be fooled by the attempts of the European Union and European institutions (…) to intervene in the presidential campaign and harm Marine Le Pen”, declared the president of the National Rally Jordan Bardella on Europe radio. 1.

He said his party had filed two complaints against OLAF and would file a third in response to the report.

Speaking to BFM TV, Le Pen’s lawyer, Rodolphe Bosselut, said his client had denied the charges. He said she had not yet been questioned and that neither he nor Le Pen had seen the OLAF report.

Le Pen has been under investigation since 2017 in connection with an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of European Union funds to pay parliamentary assistants.

($1 = 0.9254 euros)

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