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article imageEU court rejects Le Pen bid to halt expenses recovery

By AFP     Nov 28, 2018 in World

The top EU court on Wednesday rejected a bid by French far-right leader Marine Le Pen to halt the repayment of parliamentary expenses she used to pay a bodyguard.

Le Pen, leader of the National Rally (RN), is under investigation for allegedly using European Parliament expenses to pay party political staff in France.

In one such case she is alleged to have wrongly used EU parliamentary funds to pay a bodyguard, Thierry Legier, a total of more than 41,000 euros ($46,000).

In January last year, the Strasbourg-based parliament ordered that she repay this sum, but Le Pen appealed to European justice to halt the decision.

She alleged that the EU anti-fraud office which investigated her case, OLAF, was politically biased and demanded that it too should be investigated.

On Wednesday, however, the European Court of Justice "put aside or rejected" all of her arguments as "lacking in any proof or judicial basis".

In a text message to AFP, Le Pen declared: "We will obviously appeal."

Also on Wednesday, French prosecutors announced they had dropped a preliminary investigation into alleged misuse of funds by the far-right party in northern France.

Investigative newspaper Le Canard Enchaine had alleged that Le Pen ran her 2012 presidential campaign out of the regional council in the Pas-de-Calais region, illegally using its staff and resources.

Three members of the party, formerly known as the National Front, were accused of receiving payments from the region while working elsewhere.

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