Saturday

19th Aug 2017

French police raid Le Pen's party office

  • Le Pen has so far refused to pay back any money to the EU parliament (Photo: European Parliament)

Police in France raided the offices of presidential candidate Marine Le Pen on Monday (20 February) as part of a fraud investigation.

The leader of the far-right National Front is suspected of using fake EU parliament contracts to swindle the EU taxpayer out of some €340,000.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

A statement issued by the party claims the investigation is a media smear campaign designed to derail her presidential ambitions.

"For the second time, a raid took place at the same offices, over the same allegations, which confirms that the first raid amounted to nothing," it said, referring to a previous raid last year.

People working under such contracts are required to be based at the EU institution in offices located either in Brussels, Strasbourg, or Luxembourg.

But according to investigators, the EU parliament money was paid to Le Pen's bodyguard Thierry Legier, who was earning over €7,200 net per month for part-time work over a three-month period.

A second contract paid almost six years of salary up until 2016 for Le Pen's personal assistant Catherine Griset, who worked out of the party's offices in Nanterre, near Paris.

Le Pen has refused to return the sums with the EU parliament now docking half of her MEP salary. It means Le Pen will still receive around €3,000 net a month.

The allegations are based on claims made by the EU's anti-fraud office, Olaf. French investigators had already raided the office in December after judges specialised in finance opened the case.

The investigation into Le Pen may reveal much broader abuse. The EU parliament in 2015 said 19 assistants attached to National Front MEPs worked out of Nanterre, but Olaf could not confirm that all were unduly paid.

In a separate case, three other National Front MEPs, including Le Pen's estranged father Jean-Marie, have also been ordered to return some €600,000 of misused funds to the EU parliament.

Le Pen is also vice-chair of the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), a eurosceptic political faction at the European Parliament whose members include suspected fraudster Janice Atkinson.

Atkinson, a British MEP, was kicked out of Ukip in 2015 over allegations she inflated her expenses.

The latest probe is also likely to cast a further shadow in a presidential campaign already marred by scandals with centre-right presidential candidate Francois Fillon accused of handing fake government contracts to his wife and children.

Le Pen used 'fake' EU parliament jobs

A leaked EU anti-fraud office report says French far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, had her bodyguard and personal assistant paid by the EU parliament for jobs they did not do.

France's Macron issues Brexit warning

The centrist presidential candidate tells talented Britons to come to France and warns against giving the UK "undue advantages" after Brexit, in a speech in London.

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.

'Mr Putin steps into French elections'

Putin treated France's anti-EU firebrand, Le Pen, as if she had already won the elections. "I have my own viewpoint ... identical to Russia's", she said.

Opinion

Setting course for strong and focused EU

From strengthening the internal market to completing the energy union, the prime ministers of Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland set out their vision for the EU.

Europeans more optimistic about EU since Brexit vote

Perceptions of the EU have increased significantly in France, and Europeans generally feel more optimistic about the future of the bloc since last autumn - despite Brexit and a surge in populism.

News in Brief

  1. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  2. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  3. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  4. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  5. Russian power most feared in Europe
  6. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  7. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  8. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides