Fake EU jobs controversy puts Le Pen’s party back in the spotlight

"It emerged from the investigations that the National Front (FN) has, through its executives and leaders, set up an organised fraudulent system of embezzlement of European funds for its own benefit, through the fictitious employment of parliamentary assistants," the investigators wrote, JDD reported.  [EPA-EFE/LUDOVIC MARIN]

French weekly Journal du Dimanche (JDD) published on Sunday (16 May) extracts from the report of the French anti-corruption office in its probe of Marine Le Pen’s National Front (FN), now Rassemblement National, finding that the far-right party had set up an “organised system of fraud” to misappropriate EU funds to pay party members.

“It emerged from the investigations that the National Front (FN) has, through its executives and leaders, set up an organised fraudulent system of embezzlement of European funds for its own benefit, through the fictitious employment of parliamentary assistants,” the investigators wrote according to JDD.

In response to the article, Le Pen tweeted that “the JDD, the official organ of Macron’s power, brings out the same old affair of parliamentary assistants, as at every election. Nothing new under the sun, except perhaps good polls in sight?” The far-right leader has been denying the accusations since the investigation was opened in March 2015.

It is alleged that the European Parliament paid party members of Le Pen’s party in Paris who had fake work contracts as EU parliamentary assistants.

Currently, about 25 elected representatives and assistants, including Marine Le Pen and her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, are being investigated by the anti-corruption office for “misappropriation of public funds”.

The European Parliament has estimated its losses in this case at €6.8 million. (Mathieu Pollet | EURACTIV.fr)

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