…and those who hold power are growing increasingly desperate.
(Via Bloomberg) French investigators searched the headquarters of the National Front as part of a probe into whether party leader Marine Le Pen used European Parliament money to pay for jobs related to domestic politics.
In a statement, the party characterized the search as “a media operation whose only goal is to disrupt the smooth operation of” Le Pen’s presidential campaign “at a moment when she’s made major advances in the polls.”
The European Parliament has ordered Le Pen to repay the amount, estimating the improper payments at 336,146 euros ($357,000). She has refused to give the money back, saying the jobs weren’t fictitious, and has appealed the decision. French prosecutors who got a report from the EU’s anti-fraud office, OLAF, have opened a legal probe of their own.
A year ago, the FN’s offices in Nanterre, a few kilometers west of Paris, were raided as part of the same probe opened by Paris prosecutors in March 2015.
Meanwhile, Monday’s daily OpinionWay poll showed that first-round support the for anti-euro, anti-immigration Le Pen rose 1 percentage point to 27 percent, with independent Emmanuel Macron and Republican Francois Fillon unchanged at 20 percent each. (read more)