01:00 GMT18 February 2020
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    French far-right National Front party leader Marine Le Pen refused Tuesday to pay back to the European Parliament the money allegedly spent on the salary for aides who are said to have worked mostly for her party.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The European Bureau for combating fraud (OLAF) has discovered in late 2016 that Le Pen’s fake Cabinet head Catherine Griset has earned almost $322,000, which Le Pen has to return to the EU Parliament until January 31.

    "I will not be subjected to the persecution, to the decision taken unilaterally by the political opponents," Le Pen said, as quoted by the Ouest-France newspaper, adding that the decision on reimbursement was taken without any proofs.

    The EU Parliament may launch a procedure against Le Pen, which will make it possible to deduct approximately a half of the amount from the next payments to the lawmaker until the expenditure is paid back.

    Le Pen and The Republicans' candidate Francois Fillon are expected to lead during the first round of the French presidential election, which will take place on April 23, with the run-off scheduled for May 7.

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