On Sunday, Marine Le Pen’s bid for the French presidency took a hit when European Union investigators accused her and her father of embezzling €620,000 (£513,000 & $670,000) for her political party, National Rally. In a week, Le Pen will face off against Emmanuel Macron for the presidency.
From 2004 to 2017, Le Pen, during her time as a Member of the European Parliament, is accused of illegally redirecting €137,000 of EU funds into her party’s coffers.
Le Pen has also been under investigation for “breach of trust” and “misuse of public funds.” She allegedly used EU funds to pay for a personal bodyguard.
Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of National Rally, and former boyfriend, Louis Aliot, the current mayor of Perpignan, have also been implicated. They all deny the allegations.
According to Le Pen’s lawyer, Rodolphe Bosselut, “Marine Le Pen is dismayed” by the charges and claims that the decades-old accusations are unfounded and politically motivated.
“Marine Le Pen contests this. She contests it without having had access to the details of the accusations. It’s a manipulation, and unfortunately, I’m not surprised,” Bosselut added.
According to Politico, Macron’s edge over Le Pen in the polls peaked around mid-March with a 16-point lead. However, in recent weeks the gap has begun to narrow, and on April 16, Macron’s edge had halved to eight points.
In the 2017 French presidential election, Macron soundly defeated Le Pen, receiving 66% of the vote to Le Pen’s 33%.