New charges: French courts won’t leave Marine Le Pen alone
EU funds misuse case
The president of France's National Rally (formerly Front National) has long been under investigation for breach of trust over her alleged misuse of EU funds.
However, on Friday AFP sources revealed that the charges have been upgraded to “embezzling public funds”, an offense that can land the politician in prison for 10 years and result in €1 million fine.
Le Pen is accused of fictitiously employing her bodyguard and chief of staff as her assistants at the European Parliament while they actually did no EU work. Since the accusations emerged months before the May presidential election, the politician slammed the probe as a “political plot” against her.
Chief of staff Catherine Griset was charged with breach of trust, while bodyguard Thierry Legier was detained and interrogated. He was later released without any charges pressed against him.
Separate charges against le Pen stem from her releasing an order from magistrates in Nanterre near Paris in September to “undergo a psychiatric examination.” She denounced the order as “mind-blowing,” saying: “This regime is really starting to scare [us].”
According to French laws, it is forbidden to publish indictments and other criminal or penal proceedings before they have been read out in court.
The 2017 presidential candidate took to Twitter, this time without attaching any legal documents, to confirm the procedures against her. “Now they are going after me for having made public the order submitting me to a psychiatric expertise,” she wrote, adding that this “judicial harassment” is becoming “terrifying.”
The psychiatric assessment was ordered for a series of tweets dating back to December 2015. She posted three pictures of killings carried out by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists accompanied by the text “Daesh [Arabic term for IS] is THIS!”
The tweets were in response to journalist Jean-Jacques Bourdin, who compared Le Pen’s nationalist rhetoric to that of the Islamic terrorist group.
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