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Marine Le Pen refuses to repay €300k of 'misspent' EU funds

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Marine Le Pen refuses to repay €300k of 'misspent' EU funds

Post  Lamplighter on Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:29 pm

Front National leader in France faces her MEP’s salary being docked over claims she paid party staff out of EU money.

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right Front National, has refused a demand to repay nearly €300,000 (£258,000) of EU funds that a European parliament investigation alleged she misspent.

An investigation by a European parliament watchdog claimed that between 2011 and 2012 Le Pen had illicitly paid party staff for Front National work using money that should only be used for MEPs to pay assistants for legislative tasks.

Le Pen, who polls show could make it to the final round of the French presidential election in May, had a deadline of midnight on Tuesday to pay back the funds. She refused to pay and now faces her salary as an MEP being docked each month.

She denied the allegations of fraud and said she would not “submit to persecution” by repaying the money.

In a statement to Reuters news agency, Le Pen described the demand as “a unilateral decision taken by political opponents ... without proof and without waiting for a judgment from the court action I have started”.

An EU official said failure to pay could lead to her monthly EU parliamentary salary being halved to about €3,000 euros from February, and she could also lose other allowances. In total, about €7,000 could be taken from her EU payslip every month.

Five other Front National members of the European parliament including Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, had previously had their EU payments cut because of misused money that was not reimbursed, an EU official told Reuters.

Several EU lawmakers from other political groupings have also been investigated for expenses that were not in line with EU rules. Most have agreed to reimburse misspent money.

The investigation into misuse of funds was led by the watchdog on fraud against the EU budget. That agency has also taken the case against Le Pen to French courts, which will decide whether other sanctions are warranted.
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Re: Marine Le Pen refuses to repay €300k of 'misspent' EU funds

Post  bb1 on Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:53 pm

Is it a Cunning Plan to hassle Ms le Pen over the extremely grey, and much-fiddled, area of EU expenses? If so, might be a good idea to stop and ask if making her a martyr to the EU is actually wise....

This one's been at it too, allegedly:

François Fillon’s bid to become the next French president has been hit by damaging new claims that he paid his wife and children for allegedly non-existent jobs.

The Canard Enchainé reported that the conservative candidate’s Welsh-born wife, Penelope, earned €900,000 (£772,000) as his parliamentary assistant and as a contributor to a literary review owned by a friend. That is €300,000 more than the newspaper claimed last week when it broke what has become known as the “Penelopegate” scandal.

It also accused Fillon, the presidential frontrunner, of paying two of his five children an additional €84,000 of public money as “parliamentary assistants”.

On Tuesday, French anti-corruption police took the unusual step of searching offices in the Assemblée National after requesting authorisation from the speaker of the lower house.

Investigators reportedly seized documents from the archives and from Fillon’s parliamentary office. France Inter radio suggested detectives were looking for Mrs Fillon’s employment contracts.

Don't ask me who's done what, it's all getting very confusing.
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