EU Parliament Seeks Repayment by Le Pen

EU Parliament Seeks Repayment by Le PenEU Parliament Seeks Repayment by Le Pen

Marine Le Pen on Tuesday must repay €298,000 to the European Parliament or see her Member of European Parliament salary slashed in half, following allegations the French far-right leader misused funds.

EU authorities are seeking to recover a total of €340,000 from the far-right leader who is a lawmaker in the European Parliament but also a leading presidential candidate in France’s upcoming presidential election.

The EU Parliament is seeking to recover the funds after accusing two of Le Pen’s parliamentary assistants of working for her National Front party back home.

The European parliament can recover money by holding back part of her salary and allowances.

A letter sent to Le Pen demands she repay the sum of €298,497.87 by January 31, for salaries paid to Catherine Griset, who worked as a parliamentary assistant from December 2010 to February 2016.

Le Pen has denied any wrongdoing, on Saturday telling France’s TF1 television network she “formally challenged” the EU reimbursement procedure launched against her.

In October, her lawyer denounced the order of repayment as a “political maneuver” to “undercut Marine Le Pen’s work at the European Parliament”.

The repayment order comes at a bad time for Le Pen who has admitted failure in securing loans from French banks to run her presidential campaign.

It also comes amid a growing scandal surrounding conservative presidential nominee Francois Fillon and his wife Penelope. It is suspected she was paid about €500,000 for French parliamentary assistance work she never performed.

Europe's anti-fraud office found that a total of 19 National Front members used aides on the European Parliament's payroll for political activity.

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