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French prosecutors began analyzing a report by the European Union’s fraud agency accusing far-right presidential contender Marine Le Pen and other members of her National Rally party of misusing public funds while serving in the European Parliament, the Associated Press reported.
Last month, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) sent a report to the Paris prosecutor’s office alleging that the far-right leader and party members used 617,000 euros of public money for “fictitious” reasons.
OLAF accused Le Pen’s party of “grave violations” and said the “inappropriate behavior” of its members “imperiled the reputation of the Union’s institutions.”
The report was made public by the French investigative news site Mediapart just ahead of a runoff election Sunday between Le Pen and incumbent President Emmanuel Macron.
French authorities said they are looking into the details of the report but have not started any formal investigation.
This is not the first time Le Pen and her party have been accused of misusing EU funds: In 2018, OLAF accused the National Rally in a separate investigation of using aides on the European Parliament’s payroll for the party’s political activity.
Even so, Le Pen and her representatives denied the accusations and questioned the timing of the report’s publication. Her party aims to diminish the power of the EU in France.
Meanwhile, Macron, a pro-EU centrist, is leading in the polls. But many political observers noted that the race will be tighter than when they faced off in 2017.