An email from the European Union’s anti-fraud group claimed that two of French National Front leader Marine Le Pen ’s employees received salaries as European Parliament assistants, positions about which the unit’s probe discovered “serious irregularities,” according to the email.
The latest allegations make Ms. Marine Le Pen the second major presidential contender to face fraud accusations after the French newspaper “Le Canard enchaine” published an article stating that Conservative front runner Francois Fillon provided his wife and two of his children with fictitious employment as parliamentary assistants – positions from which they received income for years.
While Mr. Fillon has been forthright about the fact that his family did indeed hold such positions and received salaries, he has repeatedly claimed that they performed the required work and thus committed no legal infraction.
While maintaining his official innocence, Fillon has agreed that the French people no longer condone such practices and has apologized for his lapse in judgment, saying that he made a “mistake,” according to the BBC.
Although Fillon says he believes he technically committed no legal offense, the report has had devastating consequences for his presidential campaign with 65 percent of the population polled expressing their desire to see the Conservative leader drop his candidacy, according to Reuters.
Le Pen, whose policies are sometimes compared with those of American President Donald Trump, strongly advocates nationalism and economic protectionism, promising to pull France out of the European Union — positions that have gained popularity recently among the populous that has grown frustrated with open border policies and global economic instability.