Posted on July 10, 2024

Prosecutors Probe Marine Le Pen Campaign Funding

Laura Gozzi, BBC, July 9, 2024

An investigation has been opened into the financing of French far right National Rally (RN) leader Marine Le Pen’s 2022 presidential campaign.

Prosecutors in Paris said they will look into allegations of embezzlement, forgery and fraud, and that a candidate on an electoral campaign accepted a loan.

The investigation was opened a week ago following a 2023 report by the National Commission on Campaign Accounts and Political Financing (CNCCFP).

The commission’s role is to scrutinise candidates’ election expenses and funding and to flag any issues that arise.

No more details have been given on the reasons for the inquiry, nor has Ms Le Pen’s camp commented.

The RN has previously received loans from Russian and Hungarian banks. The Russian loan worth €9.4m (£7.9m), however, was all paid back last year.

In 2017, the RN was charged with giving party members suspected fake jobs as assistants at the European Parliament.

About €5m (£4m) allegedly went to RN assistants who were not working for MEPs, but doing party work in France.

The RN denied the charges and said it would prove it did not embezzle cash.

A court will judge Ms Le Pen and 24 other members of her party over the alleged misuse of EU funds in September.

A veteran of French politics, Ms Le Pen ran for president in 2012, 2017 and 2022.

She was re-elected to parliament during the first round of France’s snap parliamentary election last month.

Her party unexpectedly came third, despite having achieved a decisive victory in the European Parliament elections just weeks before.