Marine Le Pen refuses to repay €300000 in misused European Union funds
French far-right leader and presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen missed the deadline to pay back EUR298,000 of misused funds to the European Parliament, a spokeswoman for the parliament said on Wednesday.
Le Pen is known for her anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant positions and has won the endorsement and admiration of white supremacists.
The EU Parliament has sought to recover the funds after accusing two of Le Pen's parliamentary assistants of in fact working for her National Front party back home.
The parliament concluded that, in her role as French National Front leader, Le Pen had during the 2011-12 legislature paid party staff with the funds, which European Union rules say should be used only to pay European Union lawmakers' assistants.
"I will not submit to the persecution, a unilateral decision taken by political opponents. without proof and without waiting for a judgement from the court action I have started", she told Reuters news agency on Tuesday.
It also comes amid a growing scandal surrounding conservative presidential nominee François Fillon and his wife Penelope.
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The party is also said to be facing a demand for €41,554 (£35,532) in wages paid to her bodyguard. But the watchdog reports that most of her time was spent working in the National Front's headquarters in Paris.
French far-right party National Front leader Marine Le Pen attends a press conference in a restaurant on January 27 in Denain near Lille, France.
MEP salaries are paid on the 15th of each month, so the procedure could begin shortly, the source said, adding that it could amount to 8,000 euros per month when other parliamentary payments are included.
Le Pen said the flurry of executive orders signed in Trump's first days in office, which include cutting funds to aid programs to erecting a wall along the US-Mexican border, did not surprise her.
The money the European Parliament wants returned was used to pay the salary of Catherine Griset, a close friend of Le Pen as well as her cabinet director.
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