Election campaign 2022

Illegal financing? – Investigation against Le Pen

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09.07.2024 16:10

Just two days after the decisive round of the French parliamentary elections, the judiciary has launched a preliminary investigation into right-wing populist Marine Le Pen. The reason for this is the suspicion of illegal financing of her 2022 presidential election campaign.

Among other things, this involves an election campaign loan and the embezzlement of funds, the public prosecutor's office in Paris announced on Tuesday. The investigation was launched on July 2 following a tip-off from the Commission for Campaign Accounts.

Marine Le Pen is under investigation for financing her election campaign - and not for the first time. (Bild: AP/Louise Delmotte)
Marine Le Pen is under investigation for financing her election campaign - and not for the first time.

11.5 million euros for presidential campaign
In France, as in Austria, election campaign costs are capped. The responsible commission checks the accounts of all candidates and a portion is reimbursed. Le Pen had invested around 11.5 million euros in her third presidential election campaign in 2022. The commission had already previously rejected some of the expenditure, including a good 300,000 euros for campaign advertising on buses. Le Pen lost the 2022 presidential election to Emmanuel Macron in the run-off.

Permanent political rivals in France: President Macron and his fiercest opponent Le Pen (Bild: AFP/POOL/LUDOVIC MARIN)
Permanent political rivals in France: President Macron and his fiercest opponent Le Pen

Already targeted several times
The Commission had also criticized some of the costs during the 2017 presidential election campaign. Around 870,000 euros, which Le Pen had received as a loan from a splinter party of her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, were not recognized by the Commission. In June, the Court of Cassation in Paris confirmed the conviction of Le Pen's party Rassemblement National (RN) to a fine of 250,000 euros. The case concerned excessive invoices for campaign material for candidates in the 2012 National Assembly elections.

Problems at EU level too
In the fall, Le Pen and 24 other defendants will stand trial on suspicion of embezzling EU funds. The trial is set to begin on September 30. According to the prosecution, several assistants of RN MEPs actually worked for the party and not for the MEPs between 2004 and 2016. Le Pen denies the allegations.

The RN was ahead in both the European elections and the first round of the French parliamentary elections. In the run-off election last Sunday, he only came third - after tactical withdrawals by more than 200 candidates from the other party camps. Le Pen, who was re-elected as a member of parliament, wants to become leader of the parliamentary group again. She is also aiming for a fourth presidential candidacy in 2027.

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

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