Thursday

8th Dec 2022

Le Pen used 'fake' EU parliament jobs

  • Le Pen's use of her bodyguard and personal assistant in the European Parliament could be misappropriation of funds or fraud. (Photo: europarl.europa.eu)

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen allegedly used fake job contracts for two of her assistants in the European Parliament, according to a report by the EU anti-fraud body, Olaf.

A three-month contract, signed in October 2011 by Le Pen for Thierry Legier, her bodyguard, could constitute a "misappropriation of funds, or fraud and use of fraud", the European Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf) said in a report handed to French judges last year and revealed by French media on Thursday (16 February).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

It said the contract did not correspond to reality and pointed out that Legier's salary - €7,237 net per month for a part-time post - was "extremely high".

According to the report, leaked by the Mediapart news website and by Marianne, a weekly, Le Pen admitted to Olaf investigators that she had "not employed Legier during these three months".

She said the job contract had been established to "rectify earlier salaries and charges spending that has not been paid by the parliament".

Olaf also said that another person paid since December 2010 as an EU parliament assistant to Le Pen, Catherine Griset, was actually her personal assistant at the National Front's headquarters in France.

The anti-fraud office started to investigate in June 2014 on suspicions of violations of the parliament's rules and "possible use of fake jobs" by Le Pen since 2009.

It could not confirm allegations that Louis Aliot, Le Pen's partner and now an MEP, and Florian Philippot, also an MEP and the FN's deputy leader, were unduly paid as assistants to Le Pen before their election in 2014.

But it said the cost to the parliament of Legier and Griset's alleged fake contracts amounted to €336,146.

The parliament was due to start recovering the money this month, to be taken from Le Pen's salary as an MEP.

Le Pen's laywer said that Olaf's accusations were "balderdash".

Last month Le Pen said she would not repay the parliament and said that the investigation was "persecution, a unilateral decision taken by political opponents".

French judges opened a case in December over embezzlement, organised fraud, forgery, and undeclared work against the FN, following a preliminary investigation that was opened in March 2015 at the request of European Parliament president Martin Schulz.

The publication of Olaf's report comes as Le Pen benefits from similar accusations against centre-right presidential candidate Francois Fillon, who employed his wife and children as parliamentary assistants in France.

In the most recent poll ahead of April's first round of the presidential election, Le Pen leads with 26 percent, while Fillon is down 13 percent to 18.5 percent. Fillon is now third in the race behind the liberal-left candidate Emmanuel Macron, with 23 percent.

Until now, no poll has said Le Pen would win the election in the second round, but with Fillon in difficulty the possibility is more likely.

French police raid Le Pen's party office

Officers raid the National Front headquarters near Paris over allegations that leader Marine Le Pen used fake EU parliament contracts to pay her personal staff.

Le Pen wants to 'do away' with EU

The far-right presidential candidate said that she would create a "Europe of free nations", while taking France out of Nato command and "tie up" Russia to Europe.

Judges refuse to 'let go' of Le Pen's fake jobs case

As MEPs start to examine a request to lift Marine Le Pen's parliamentary immunity on Monday, judges in Paris are trying to tighten the judiciary's noose around the French far-right leader.

Opinion

No, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not ready for the EU

The European Commission has asked the member states' leaders assembling in Brussels next week for the customary end-of-year European Council to approve EU candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Doing so would be a mistake.

Exclusive

Borrell gets pension from MEP fund set for taxpayer bailout

Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, is currently drawing a pension from a European Parliament fund that is some €400m in debt and may require a taxpayer bailout at a time of rising inflation and high energy costs.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  4. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  5. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  6. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe

Latest News

  1. No, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not ready for the EU
  2. EU takes legal action against China over Lithuania
  3. EU Commission shoring up children's rights of same-sex parents
  4. The military-industrial complex cashing-in on the Ukraine war
  5. EU delays Hungary funds decision, as Budapest vetoes Ukraine aid
  6. Borrell gets pension from MEP fund set for taxpayer bailout
  7. Autocrats make us all less secure
  8. Big Agri's lies: green EU farming not to blame for food insecurity

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  2. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  3. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us