01:16 GMT26 January 2020
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    The leader of France's right-wing party, Front National, Marine Le Pen has become further embroiled in another fraud charge after it was alleged that another one of her aides had been paid via a "non job" at the European Parliament in an effort to withhold details of spending in the 2012 French election campaign.

    One of Le Pen's former aides, Gael Nofri, has told French investigative news outlet Mediapart that he was offered a fictitious contract at the European Parliament in an attempt to disguise overspending in the 2012 presidential election.

    ​The news follows hard on the heels of another set of fraud allegations involving Le Pen, who is running for the presidency again at this year's elections. She is already under investigation by the European Parliament for paying staff at the European Parliament — where she is an MEP — for paying staff out of EU funds who did not actually work there, but worked for the party in Paris instead. 

    The EU European anti-fraud office (OLAF) alleges that Le Pen used European Parliament funds to pay her bodyguard, Thierry Legier, between October and December in 2011 by falsely claiming he was an EU parliamentary assistant.

    The Front National leader is also accused of having signed off on a similar contract for her France-based assistant Catherine Griset, for work between December 2010 and February 2016.

    Le Pen is vehemently defending herself, saying she never admitted the charges and would contest the allegations. The headquarters of the Front National were raided, February 20, for the second time as French investigators cooperate with EU authorities investigating the claims.

    The Front National leader is not the only presidential runner under investigation for alleged "false jobs." The latest allegations are against the Welsh-born wife of Francois Fillon, the former French PM and Republican hopeful for the presidency, who is alleged to have earned US$538,000 working as his assistant.

    Although there is nothing at all wrong with doing so — many politicians employ relatives — the weekly magazine Le Canard Enchaine cannot find a single person who remembers her actually doing any work for him.

    The latest opinion poll shows Le Pen would win the first round of the presidential vote, but be knocked out in the second by former economy minister Emmanuel Macron or Fillon, if he were to make it through to the second round.


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    MEPs, expenses, presidency, fraud, investigation, election, French Presidential Election 2017, European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), European Parliament, Front National, Marine Le Pen, Francois Fillon, Europe, Paris, Brussels, France
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