“Of course I disagree with the allegations, which I am not aware of, and this in itself is a problem for the rule of law, after the lack of evidence, I was not given any details, despite my requests,” Le Pen said. Six days before the second round of the presidential election in Saint-Pierre-en-Hug, France.
French fact-finding portal Mediapart published another report from the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) on Saturday night, which was received by the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office on March 11, and the European Parliament will request a refund in the coming weeks. .
OLAF launched an investigation in 2016 and in March 2021 asked Marine Le Pen in writing for €6,7379.77, according to Media Party.
According to the report, Marine Le Pen illegally used 136,993.99 euros in Brussels during his 2004-2017 parliamentary term, while his father Jean-Marie Le Pen embezzled 303545.76 euros. The report also mentions a third party member, Bruno Gölnish, who is suspected of spending €43,257 illegally, while the party’s vice president, Le Pen’s former partner, Louis Elliott, could not calculate €2,493.22. The group of right-wing parties called Europe Nationalism and Freedom has been accused of embezzling €131,089.
According to Mediapart, the facts in the report could lead to criminal proceedings against former members for the illegal use of EU funds. The OLAF mentions “fraud, forgery, misuse of trust and embezzlement” due to the use of European public funds for national policy or personal purposes, through over-billing or fictitious billing of services by companies close to the national pool.
The article also cites examples: The European Parliament paid more than 23,000 euros for promotional items (bags, pens, key chains) delivered to the headquarters of the National Front, the predecessor of the National Focus, before the 2014 Lyon party congress. In the same year, Marine and Jean-Marie Le Pen also submitted an invoice In the amount of 5000 euros to create their own website, which, according to the article, did not exist at all. In 2016, a few days before New Year’s Eve, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen ordered 129 bottles of wine and champagne worth more than 8,000 euros and presented the bill to the European Parliament. 113 bottles of the shipment were delivered directly to one of the Le Pen family’s villas, and “Jean-Marie Le Pen has not presented any evidence that the matter is related to the activities of the European Parliament,” Mediapart wrote.
In Marine Le Pen’s case, the article mentions a 2010 refund request for €5,000 hotel bills for the party’s 13 leaders. One of them himself revealed to OLAF that the party’s presidential election had already been prepared for the trip.
“The French will not fall into the trap of interference by the European Union and European institutions in the presidential campaign to destroy Marine Le Pent,” said Jordan Bardela, head of the National Rally. The party chief spoke about this on a joint program on Europe 1 radio and CNews TV on Sunday.
Marine Le Pen has been on trial since June 2017 for fictitious parliamentary assistant positions for his party, accused by the Paris public prosecutor of embezzlement of public funds.
According to the European Parliament, over the years, Marine Le Pen paid 339,000 euros to his assistant in Brussels, who, however, worked not for the party office but for the party. Catherine Greste was an employee of the party leader in Brussels from 2010 to 2016, but in fact she was Le Pen’s personal assistant and chief of staff for decades. It is suspected that about two dozen employees of the National Front (the predecessor of the National Focus) received their salaries from Brussels money, covered by contracts with parliamentary assistants from the European Union.
Cover Photo: Getty Images
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