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France's Le Pen Put Under Formal Investigation Over EU Funds
02 July 2017, 01:28 | Dawn Berry
Marine Le Pen formally investigated in EU funding inquiry
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has been placed under formal investigation over an alleged European parliament funding scandal. Since then, Le Pen has maintained her innocence and said that she would cooperate fully with any investigation once the election had concluded.
Le Pen ran her presidential campaign under an aggressively xenophobic, White Nationalist Platform which included aggressive anti-Immigrant policies.
They believe the money went to paying FN employees in France, rather than those working in Brussels.
The breach of trust charges are related to a wider probe into the alleged misuse of European Union funds by the far-right party.
In a statement, her lawyer denied wrongdoing and said she would launch an appeal.
At the time, Le Pen was competing closely with ultimate victor Macron. "She is obviously 24 hours out of 24 both the president of the National Front and a European deputy".
Her lawyer Rodolphe Bosselut confirmed on Friday afternoon, with several National front politicians also under investigation. She will also seek a suspension of the investigation.
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His reference to "separation of powers" may relate to a contention that the French justice system should not interfere in political party affairs.
The preliminary charges are thrown out if investigators fail to come up with convincing evidence. At the end of their work, they will have to decide whether to send the case to trial or dismiss it.
If tried and convicted, Le Pen faces up to three years imprisonment and a fine of up to Euro 375,000 (USD 425,000), although it is unlikely she would receive a custodial sentence. Due to that win, Le Pen gave up her seat in the European Parliament.
The allegations first arose on 27 April, ahead of the second round of voting in the French presidential election.
Macron himself is determined to avoid any possible connection to the lax or corrupt political practices of the past.
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