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French far right party National Front charged over ‘fake jobs’

Marine Le Pen is one of the 17 National Front lawmakers being investigated over suspected fake jobs. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

France’s far-right party National Front has been charged with giving party members suspected fake jobs as assistants at the European Parliament, the party said on Tuesday.

Confirming a report in Le Monde newspaper, the National Front treasurer Wallerand de Saint-Just said the charges brought by French prosecutors on November 30 were the “natural follow-on” from the charges laid against party leader Marine Le Pen in June.

The FN is accused of illegally claiming millions of euros from the European Parliament in funds earmarked for parliamentary assistants, to pay France-based staff instead.

In a statement, the party said it would prove “that it did not embezzle a penny”.

Le Pen, who has denied the charges, is one of 17 National Front lawmakers – along with her estranged father Jean-Marie Le Pen and her partner, party vice-president Louis Aliot – being investigated over salaries paid to around 40 parliamentary assistants.

The affair first made headlines during the election but took a back seat to the fake jobs scandal involving François Fillon.

Fillon, the one-time favourite, crashed out of the election at the first round after it emerged that his wife was paid nearly 700,000 euros for a suspected fake job as a French parliamentary assistant.