Marine Le Pen under investigation for misuse of European Union funds

Le Pen, who is gaining popularity in France that helped her to enter the National Assembly for the first time, dismissed any wrongdoing.

The case relates to an amount of about 5 million euros ($5.71 million).

The National Front has denied the allegations.

Le Pen is also charged with complicity in breach of trust in connection with her role as president of the National Front from 2014-2016.

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French far-right leader, Marine Le Pen was placed under formal investigation on Friday as part of a probe into the alleged misuse of European Union funds to pay parliamentary assistants.

The case was triggered by a complaint from the European parliament, which accused the Front National of defrauding it on a large scale.

Later the cost was estimated at Euro 1.9 million but the new estimate cited by police sources is more than twice as high - Euro 4,978,122.

The allegations contend that Le Pen and the National Front used funds from the European Parliament, the EU's legislative body, to pay party staff members, according to Agence France-Presse.

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In March, French investigators raided the party's headquarters outside Paris in order to find out if the European Parliament funding for MEP assistance had been abused with fake jobs.

"In accordance with her commitments made during the presidential campaign, Marine Le Pen complied with the judges' summons", news channel BFMV quoted her lawyer as saying on Friday. Because of that, she had been placed under investigation for "dissemination of violent images".

Le Pen's bodyguard Thierry Legier was also questioned by investigators but was not charged.

The French judiciary has already requested that the European Parliament lift Le Pen's immunity.

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Le Pen plans to file an urgent demand Monday at the Appeals Court asking that the preliminary charges be annulled due to "the violation of the principle of separation of powers", her lawyer, Rodolphe Bosselut, said in a statement. Griset was charged in February for allegedly receiving money through a breach of trust.


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