French Far-right's Le Pen Faces Funding Scandal Probe

Marine Le Pen charged with EU funds misuse

Le Pen refused to be interrogated and simply made a statement during a face-off with investigative judges, her lawyer, Rodolphe Bosselut, said in a Twitter post.

The European Parliament has accused Le Pen of paying party staff working in France with European Union (EU) funds worth 340,000 euros (387,690 US dollars), after she claimed they were European parliamentary assistants.

Prosecutors in France have placed the far-right leader Marine Le Pen under formal investigation as part of a probe into the alleged misuse of European Union funds to pay parliamentary assistants. She will appeal the decision.

In the French criminal justice system, a "formal investigation" is the step before filing charges. Le Pen has denied any wrongdoing.

The French judiciary has already requested that the European Parliament lift Le Pen's immunity.

The formal investigation of Le Pen comes less than two weeks after she won a seat in the French National Assembly.

Investigators suspect that the party took money reserved for the salaries of European parliamentary assistants and used it to fund staff working for the National Front. The FN leader has previously denied wrongdoing.

Le Pen ran her presidential campaign under an aggressively xenophobic, White Nationalist Platform which included aggressive anti-Immigrant policies.

In February, the European parliament said it would start docking Le Pen's pay unless she paid the money back.

But she was soundly beaten by Macron in the second round, by 66.1 to 33.9%.

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