Thursday

2nd Dec 2021

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

News in Brief

  1. EU commission unveils proposal to digitalise justice systems
  2. German ICUs expected to peak at Christmas
  3. Report: First Omicron case found in the US
  4. US urges Russia to pull back troops from Ukrainian border
  5. Ukraine president calls for direct talks with Russia 'to end war'
  6. Renewable energy saw 'record year of growth'
  7. Dutch coalition talks aim for Christmas breakthrough
  8. Poland curtails media access to Belarus border

MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute

The Belgian and Bulgarian prosecutors who were appointed had also not been the experts' first choice. Belgian prosecutor Jean-Michel Verelst has challenged the council's decision at the European Court of Justice.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. EU mulls mandatory vaccination, while urging booster for all
  2. EU unveils €300bn reply China's infrastructure programme
  3. Current global financial system is a 'dance with death'
  4. EU skirts pushbacks, suggests people seek asylum in Belarus
  5. EU warned against making 'Future EU' conference a one-off
  6. My 6-point plan for Belarus, by former Lithuanian PM
  7. No obligation to defend Ukraine from Russia, Nato chief says
  8. EU agency: 'Omicron vaccine' approval to take 3-4 months

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us