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article imageFrench prosecutors alerted over 'undervalued' Le Pen assets

By Fabrice Randoux (AFP)     Dec 21, 2015 in Politics

A French financial body said Monday it had alerted prosecutors to the "undervalued" assets declaration of far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen and her father Jean-Marie Le Pen.

"There is a serious doubt about the comprehensiveness, accuracy and sincerity of their declarations owing to the obvious undervaluation of real estate assets" held by the two Le Pens, the High Authority for Transparency in Public Life said in a statement.

The body also mentions the failure of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the firebrand founder of the far-right party, to declare certain property.

The financial body estimates both Le Pens underestimated their wealth by a third -- a figure of about one million euros ($1.1 million) for Jean-Marie and hundreds of thousands of euros for Marine.

Both could face a fine of up to 45,000 euros, three years in prison and a ban of up to 10 years from public life.

Jean-Marie Le Pen and Marine Le Pen at Jean-Marie Le Pen's home in Saint-Cloud  west of Paris
Jean-Marie Le Pen and Marine Le Pen at Jean-Marie Le Pen's home in Saint-Cloud, west of Paris
Miguel Medina, AFP, File

The High Authority "ruled it necessary to alert the financial prosecutor to these facts, which could represent criminal offences", the statement said.

Both Jean-Marie Le Pen and his daughter Marine, who took over leadership of the National Front in 2011, are lawmakers in the European Parliament and as such have to publicly declare their wealth.

Marine said she would appeal the decision, slamming a "systematic and outrageous will to cause harm".

Meanwhile her father denounced "the harassment of critics of the government and establishment".

Jean-Marie Le Pen, 87, is accused of failing to declare a Swiss bank account and gold bullion, which already prompted a preliminary investigation into tax fraud in June.

The National Front won a record number of votes in regional elections earlier this month, while failing to win any regions, as it continues its rise despite legal woes and bitter internal battles.

French National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen and her father Jean-Marie Le Pen
French National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen and her father Jean-Marie Le Pen
, AFP/File

The FN is accused of conspiring in fraud during a 2012 parliamentary election in 2012.

Marine Le Pen was last week acquitted of inciting hatred after likening Muslim street prayers to the Nazi occupation.

She is also under investigation for tweeting graphic images of Islamic State atrocities, including the beheading of US reporter James Foley.

The 47-year-old is also locked in a bitter feud with her father, who was booted out of the party earlier this year after rehashing familiar comments about Nazi gas chambers being a "detail" of history and saying France should improve ties with Russia to save the "white world".

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