Parliamentary assistants: Marine Le Pen agreed to repay 330,000 euros to the European Parliament

Marine Le Pen agreed to pay nearly 330,000 euros to the European Parliament for the undue employment of two assistants when she was an MEP in order to avoid “forced execution” of this reimbursement, her lawyer announced on Thursday September 21, confirming information from Mediapart

Parliamentary assistants: Marine Le Pen agreed to repay 330,000 euros to the European Parliament

Marine Le Pen agreed to pay nearly 330,000 euros to the European Parliament for the undue employment of two assistants when she was an MEP in order to avoid “forced execution” of this reimbursement, her lawyer announced on Thursday September 21, confirming information from Mediapart.

After an administrative investigation opened in 2014 into suspicions of embezzlement of European funds by Marine Le Pen, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) demanded reimbursement of 339,000 euros for the undue employment of two employees. Threatened since the spring with an enforceable recovery decision, the leader of the RN finally agreed to pay this sum last July.

“This payment was made to avoid a forced execution of an administrative decision emanating from the European Parliament, the merits of which are still contested by [Ms Le Pen],” said her lawyer, Rodolphe Bosselut. This payment “in no way constitutes an explicit or implicit recognition of the European Parliament’s claims,” he insisted.

Ms. Le Pen, who served in the European Parliament from 2004 to 2017, was suspected of having employed two people with European funds for the benefit of the National Front – since renamed National Rally –: her chief of staff, Catherine Griset, and her bodyguard, Thierry Légier. Marine Le Pen, who disputes the accusations, assuring that Ms. Griset and Mr. Légier had worked with her in Parliament, refused to pay this sum.

Indicted in connection with another case

According to Mediapart, Parliament's financial services had started to deduct from Ms. Le Pen 50% of her elected official's allowance and her daily allowances, as well as all of her general expenses, from February 2017. These deductions lasted four months, Marine Le Pen having left Parliament after her election to the National Assembly in June 2017, according to the online media.

Marine Le Pen reaffirms “not having committed any offense or irregularity in the employment of her two parliamentary assistants, both with regard to the regulations of the European Parliament as well as French law and constitutional principles,” added Mr. Bosselut.

At the same time, Marine Le Pen has been indicted for “embezzlement of public funds” and “complicity” since June 2017 in the judicial investigation carried out in Paris on suspicion of fictitious employment of RN MEPs. The investigations have been completed and the prosecution should soon make its submissions before the final decision of the investigating judges on whether or not to hold a trial for the twenty-nine people implicated in this procedure.

“Depending on the outcome of the criminal proceedings, Marine Le Pen also reserves the possibility of requesting reimbursement from the European Parliament of the sums thus paid,” said Mr. Bosselut.