Far-right French leader Marine Le Pen charged with European Union funds misuse

Marine Le Pen is being investigated for breach of trust

The French judiciary have begun their investigation into National Front leader Marine Le Pen over allegations that she had illegally used EU?funds to pay aides who were in fact working for her party, legal sources said on Friday.

The controversy shadowed Le Pen's campaign for the French presidency.

According to The Guardian, "Under French law, being put under formal investigation means there is "serious or consistent evidence" that points to probable involvement in a crime".

Marine Le Pen lost the French presidential election to Emmanuel Macron in May
CHARLES PLATIAU REUTERS Marine Le Pen lost the French presidential election to Emmanuel Macron in May

Le Pen has denied any wrongdoing and denied the allegations which she called political "persecution" against her.

Le Pen's chief of staff Catherine Griset was put under formal investigation on February 22 after a day of questioning over the alleged misuse of European Union funds to pay parliamentary assistants.

Le Pen's lawyer said she had been summoned by investigating magistrates in Paris and "as expected" had been placed under formal investigation for breach of trust.

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Those pictures saw her placed under investigation for the "dissemination of violent images".

A total of 17 FN European lawmakers are being investigated over salaries paid to about 40 parliamentary assistants. Since then, Le Pen has maintained her innocence and said that she would cooperate fully with any investigation once the election had concluded. The FN leader has previously denied wrongdoing.

The case was first triggered by a complaint about the National Front to the European Parliament. At the end of their work, they will have to decide whether to send the case to trial or dismiss it.

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