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New EU Anti-fraud report accuses Marine Le Pen of embezzling European Parliament public funds

French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen arrives to hold a press conference on her Foreign Affairs politics at Salons Hoche hotel in Paris, France, 13 April 2022.

Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen along with figures close to her has been accused of embezzling about 600,000 Euros in European public funds during their membership in the European Parliament.

The accusation comes from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), according to a new report revealed by the French media site Mediapart, on Saturday, and it was submitted to French justice.

OLAF, in its 116-page document, implicated Le Pen and three other former members of the European parliament including her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Louis Aliot and Bruno Gollnisch.

The amount of the sums claimed is more than 617,000 Euros in total, according to OLAF. Le Pen personally embezzled around 137,000 Euros ($150,000) worth of public money from the Strasbourg parliament when she was an MEP between 2004 and 2017.

Le Pen’s lawyer, Rodolphe Boslow, said that he was “dissatisfied with the way in which the European Anti-fraud Office behaves”, stressing that part of the report relates to “outdated facts that are more than ten years old.”

He added that Le Pen “has not been summoned by any French judicial authority,” criticizing the failure to send the final report to him or Le Pen. According to him, the European Anti-fraud Office investigation has been open since 2016 and Le Pen was questioned by mail in March 2021.

What is prominent about this report is that it came after President Emmanuel Macron had been put on blast by his opponents in France following a report from the French Senate that questioned the government’s usage of private consultants and accused the American firm of tax dodging.

The investigation by the French Senate recently concluded that French public spending on consultants had more than doubled between 2018 and 2021, and reached a record level of €$1bn last year.

On April 13, dozens of students began occupying the building of La Sorbonne University and other schools to condemn what they called the “fake choice” between Macron and Le Pen in the run-off.

Students began the occupation after the Sorbonne administration took the anti-democratic decision to shut down an anti-fascist meeting on Wednesday and tried to lock out the students. They published an article last week, saying, “We refuse the possibility of ultra-liberalism and fascism in the second round.”

The protest movement spread to a number of other universities across France. Other sporadic occupation protests occurred the day after the first round, at the University of Paris 8 and the École Normale Supérieure Jourdan, in the 14th arrondissement of Paris.

The protesters include many young people who voted for hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who finished just one percentage point behind Le Pen in France’s first-round presidential vote but didn’t qualify for the runoff.

Also thousands of French people are protesting in different cities claiming that the candidates qualified for the second round of the presidential election completely ignore their priorities such as ecological, social justice, anti-racist and Islamophobic violence. They also express concern about their standards of living.

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