Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

US media: outraged and outrageous on immigration

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

How do migrants affect the labour market?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Children in cages: What drives Trump's family separation policy?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

NATO chief hails strength of transatlantic bond on defence

Read more

FOCUS

Japan rejects 99% of asylum applications

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: 'Sextape', 'How to Talk to Girls at Parties', 'Looking for Teddy'

Read more

PERSPECTIVE

World Refugee Day: The story of a French mother who took in an Afghan refugee

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Khaled Diab: Debunking myths about Islam

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Australian female comedian's murder sparks soul-searching about women's safety

Read more

France

EU sounds alarm over possible fraud at France’s National Front

© Frederick Florin, AFP I The leader of France’s far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen, at the European Parliament on October 22, 2014

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-03-10

France’s far-right National Front (FN) came under scrutiny for possible financial irregularities on Monday after the European Parliament alerted anti-fraud investigators to the party’s use of funds to pay EU parliamentary assistants.

The European Parliament issued a statement announcing that its president, Martin Schulz, had informed the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) of the suspected irregularities regarding the salaries of EU parliamentary assistants, which are paid out of the EU’s budget.

The parliament suspects 20 assistants of actually working for the FN in France instead of for EU lawmakers.

Assistants must work “directly” for lawmakers, the parliament stressed in its statement, meaning that they are not allowed to work for national parties.

A parliamentary source said the suspected fraud was estimated at 7.5 million euros ($8.1 million), confirming figures given by French daily newspaper Le Monde.

Schulz also wrote to French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira to express his suspicions.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the FN, quickly took to Twitter to respond, announcing that she intended to file a complaint over the "false accusation".

Meanwhile, the FN’s vice president, Florian Philippot, dismissed the case as “bogus”.

"Basically, Schulz is right... our assistants do not work for the European Union but against it," he tweeted, underlining his party's fierce opposition to the EU.

OLAF must now decide whether or not to open an investigation, a process which could take several months.

The controversy comes as the FN prepares for local elections in France on March 22 and 29. The party has made steady gains over the past year, winning a record 23 seats in European elections in 2014. It is also projected to win an “unprecedented” score in France’s upcoming vote.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned on Sunday that the FN could take the next presidential election in 2017, saying their policies were a "disaster" for the country.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2015-03-10

  • FRANCE

    Poll gives France's far-right National Front party boost ahead of regional vote

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Far right could win 2017 presidency, says French PM

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Socialists win parliament seat in face-off with National Front

    Read more

COMMENT(S)