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France schedules trial for Le Pen for misappropriation of funds from Eurofunds

France schedules trial for Le Pen for misappropriation of funds from Eurofunds Marine Le Pen (photo: Getty Images)

Former presidential candidate from the National Union party in the French presidential elections, Marine Le Pen, and her relatives will be tried on charges of embezzling several million euros from EU funds, according to Le Parisien.

Marine Le Pen and 26 others are suspected of creating a system from 2004 to 2016 to reward assistants of European Parliament deputies with EU funds. Le Pen, who has always denied these accusations, will face court for misappropriation of public funds and complicity.

The court will also decide whether her 95-year-old father can prepare his defense and be present at the trial. Hearings will be held three times a week in the late afternoon from Monday to Wednesday.

Among the other defendants are the mayor of Perpignan, Louis Aliot, former number two of the party Bruno Gollnisch, executive vice-president of the party Nicolas Bay, former treasurer of the National Union Wallerand de Saint-Just, as well as the party's spokesperson, Julien Odoul.

Progress of the investigation against Marine Le Pen

The investigation began in March 2015 when the European Parliament notified the European Anti-Fraud Office of possible violations by the party regarding the salaries of parliamentary assistants. At the end of 2016, the investigation was assigned to two Parisian judges specializing in financial investigations. In June 2017, Marine Le Pen was charged with breach of trust and complicity, which was later requalified as embezzlement of public funds.

Le Pen is suspected of creating a system of rewards totaling 21,000 euros for her assistants, which was monthly allocated from EU funds to each parliamentarian for the payment of their assistants. It is estimated that Le Pen directed 6.8 million euros to her allies from 2009 to 2017.

Marine Le Pen's attitude towards Russia

Marine Le Pen is one of the most well-known supporters of strengthening Russia-France international relations.

Her party is the only one in France that supports Russia's stance against any intervention in the Syrian conflict. She has also repeatedly expressed support for Russia's actions in Ukraine, speaking favorably about the annexation of Crimea.

In 2022, she condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine but called for a balanced position on Ukraine and for sanctions to be formulated in a way that would allow peace to be achieved without destroying the French economy.

In April of this year, she stated that if Russia wins the war, it will be a catastrophe. However, if Ukraine wins, it will mean the beginning of the Third World War.