PARIS (AP) — Right0wing leader Marine Le Pen says a French investigation into accusations that members of her National Front party tricked the European Union out of hundreds of thousands of euros is a “political act” by a system she wants to break.
Le Pen, a leading presidential candidate, also said on Friday that she intends to file a legal complaint against the European anti-fraud office to contest its findings that parliamentary aides — her own included — were wrongly paid with European funds.
Europe’s anti-fraud office found that some deputies, including Le Pen, employed 19 aides at the European Parliament who were paid from the European budget but had outside political activities. That break with the rules spurred French prosecutors to open a separate investigation.
Le Pen claimed, without providing details, she has “proof of collusion” between the office and the EU parliament. Her lawyer wasn’t available.
Le Pen’s cabinet chief and a body guard of hers were among those targeted in the probe, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation. They are expected to return nearly 340,000 euros to Europe’s coffers. The unidentified person asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.