11:13 GMT +323 July 2018
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    People cheer as Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader and candidate for the French 2017 presidential election, attends the 2-day FN political rally to launch the presidential campaign in Lyon, France February 5, 2017.

    ‘Attempt at Political Killing:’ National Rally Party Deprived of Public Aid

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    French investigators have decided to seize 2 million euros of public aid that the National Rally (NR) party should have received on Monday. The party is suspected of creating a secret system for embezzling European funds to pay parliamentary assistants. The damage is estimated at 7 million euros.

    Louis Alo, the party’s vice president, and Bruno Gollnisch, MEP, commented on the situation. 

    According to Marine Le Pen, the National Rally Party has become a victim of political discontent after judges Renaud Van Ruymbeke and Claire Thépaut requested the seizure. According to RMC, in an order dated June 28, the judges asked for "the seizure by a court order of €2 million intended for the National Front as public aid."

    READ MORE: Le Pen Party's Fight to Restore $2.3Mln Subsidy Struggle for Democracy

    The two judges took this decision in the context of an investigation involving allegedly fictitious parliamentary assistants of former National Front members being paid with money from the European Parliament. According to several party members, it's clearly a political act and an attack on the presumption of innocence.

    The judges invoked the party's indebtedness to justify the seizure. They fear that the subsidy would only be used to repay loans and thus be unavailable to recover any damages. Marine Le Pen is convinced that this decision is political and points to Claire Thépaut's membership in the Judicial Union. In April 2013, the largely left-wing Judicial Union found itself in turmoil after images of the so-called "wall of freaks," showing several female politicians labeled as right wing, were published.

    Louis Alliot, the NR deputy of the Pyrénées-Orientales and the party's vice president, told Sputnik the same things as Marine Le Pen:

    "The Judicial Union is hostile to us. They called for opposing Marine Le Pen between the two rounds of the last presidential election. It's composed of politically biased judges. This case is therefore very serious and undermines the political pluralism necessary for democracy. We are giving lessons to Russia and China, but we'd better pay attention to what is going on in our country. Today it's the National Rally that's targeted, but tomorrow it could well be any other political organization."

    Contacted by Sputnik, the Judicial Union didn't wish to react to these accusations.

    "This is clearly an attempt at political killing. It's absolutely surreal and unprecedented. We're the first political group to undergo such treatment. All of this is the culmination of a maneuver designed to break our movement and started when Martin Schultz, former European Parliament President, decided to act with Madame Taubira, former Minister of Justice, to destroy us," Bruno Gollnisch, an MEP who the European Parliament has asked for 275,984 euros, told Sputnik.

    The allegations are so harsh because the situation is serious for the political movement. On July 9, the NR was to receive an advance equivalent to half of the public aid of 4.5 million euros, which was delayed. The latter is calculated based on the 2017 parliamentary election results. The movement relied on this money to face several impending financial deadlines.

    READ MORE: France's Le Pen Disagrees With US Policy to Separate Illegal Migrant Families

    And if the party appeals this decision, it won't be suspended. Marine Le Pen even mentioned the death of her political party: "If there is not an urgent meeting of the Preliminary Investigations Chamber that finds that there was the violation of law and the Constitution by the judges, then at the end of August there is no longer the NR."

    In order to survive, the party has called for donations and launched an online campaign. Gaëtan Dussausaye, an assistant to the National Association for Public Relations, explained why the party decided to join the counteroffensive:

    "We're stunned. In a country that prides itself on being at the forefront of democracy, two judges can afford to try to wipe out the first opposition party by totally ignoring the presumption of innocence. The situation's very serious. That's why we started an awareness campaign so that the French know what's going on."

    The views and opinions expressed by the expert speakers do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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