The French extreme-right party National Union(RN, original acronym), led by Marine Le Pen, will have embezzled 6.8 million euros of funds from the European Parliament, today reveals a police investigation reported by Le Journal du Dimanche.
Le Pen has been accused of five years for fraudulent use of public resources in hiring people who actually worked for the National Union.
The leader of the French extreme right appears accused along with 16 other people linked to the party.
The situation goes back to the time when the RN was led by the father of the current leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, but it will have taken shape under the presidency of Marine Le Pen, after the European elections of 2014, in which this far-right party won 24 places.
The French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche mentions that the management of credits attributed to the hiring of employees was “centralized” by the party, which only let its deputies choose an assistant and took charge of hiring the rest.
The RN leader reacted through her Twitter account, describing Le Journal du Dimanche as “the official organ of macroniste power [reference to Emmanuel Mácron, president of France]”.
“It brings up the same case of parliamentary assistants as in all elections. Nothing new,” she wrote, adding references to the June regional elections.
The party treasurer, Wallerand de Saint-Just, speaking to the French news channel BFM, accused Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti of being behind the disclosure of this inquiry.
“He spends his life saying that he wants to harm RN as much as possible. This is obviously a political maneuver, just before the regional elections. He uses that newspaper and that story that we don’t know where it comes from and that is a set of inaccuracies and slander, “said Saint-Just.
At issue is a 98-page report, delivered on 15 February to the investigating judge, who states that European funds were not only used to pay employees who actually worked for the party but to some who accumulated employment contracts in an undue, describes the Spanish news agency Efe.
The French MP and candidate for the 2022 presidential election is presented as directly responsible for this fraudulent system that would consist of financing the wages of party workers with European funds, diverting the funds given to MEPs to hire assistants.
According to Le Journal du Dimanche, most of the suspects claimed to have destroyed their files when changing computers or to keep nothing that would justify their remuneration from the European Parliament.
Le Pen denied in court on September 5, 2018, that he had committed fraud and, today, to the French weekly, the lawyer of RN leader, Rodolphe Bosselut, reiterated that all the aforementioned parliamentary assistants worked “at one time or another” to the European structure.
The newspaper also recalls that the European Parliament did not wait for the criminal proceedings to end before claiming the funds.
In 2016 he asked Le Pen to reimburse 339 thousand euros and for months he withheld part of the appropriations for that purpose until he recovered around 60 thousand euros, but when it left the European Parliament, the transfers were interrupted.
Source: with Agencies