Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Marine Le Pen in Fake Job Scandal as Poll gives 44% of Working Class Voters behind her Presidential Bid.

with 3 comments

This story has been rumbling on for the last few weeks, but this is the first proper report in English, from the always-worth looking at France 24 site (the French language version often covers different stories and is also well worth reading).

Bearing in mind that Marine Le Pen heads French polls (and by far and away, is the strongest candidate amongst working class voters at 44% ) – though is unlikely to get from the first round in the Presidential elections to win in the second.

Répartition des intentions de vote au premier tour de la présidentielle selon la catégorie socioprofessionnelle (enquête Cevipof).

Le Monde.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen on Friday vehemently denied having ever admitted to anti-fraud investigators that she misused EU funds to pay her bodyguard, saying she is the target of outright lies.

“It’s a shameless lie, I have never admitted such a thing to investigators,” the National Front leader told French radio France Bleu Besançon.

The comments come after French investigative news site Mediapart and weekly Marianne on Thursday published extracts of a report by the European anti-fraud body (OLAF) which claimed that Le Pen had admitted to falsely employing at least one of her staff as an EU parliamentary assistant.

According to the extracts of the report, Le Pen had defended the move, claiming the parliament owed her and her party money from unpaid salaries and expenses.

But according to Le Pen, this conversation with investigators never took place.

“I never even saw the sight of them [the investigators],” she said.

The persistent scandal, which erupted when the report was handed to French judges last year, is a needle in the eye for the 48-year-old whose bid for the French presidency had been picking up steam after it was revealed last month that her main rival, conservative presidential nominee François Fillon, paid his wife hundreds of thousands of euros by employing her as his assistant in the French parliament – a job the weekly Le Canard Enchainé claims she did not actually do.

Who said what?

European anti-fraud investigators say that Le Pen used European Parliament funds to pay her bodyguard, Thierry Légier, a total of €41,554 between October and December in 2011 by falsely claiming he was an EU parliamentary assistant. In the report, they claim that Le Pen acknowledged that she did not employ Légier in that capacity during those three months.

Le Pen is also accused of having signed off on a similar contract for her France-based assistant Catherine Griset, to whom a total of nearly €298,500 was paid out between December 2010 and February 2016.

In the report, investigators allege that “Le Pen had the European Parliament employ Madame Catherine Griset as a parliamentary assistant accredited in Brussels whereas she has been serving as her personal assistant at her party headquarters in France since December 2010”.

To qualify as an EU parliamentary assistant, the person needs to work in one of the parliament’s three offices – in either Brussels, Strasbourg or Luxembourg – and is required to reside in the vicinity of his or her workplace.

Refuses to repay

The EU parliament has sought to recover the funds – which amount to almost €340,000 in all – claiming the two employees worked as Le Pen’s own staff rather than parliamentary assistants, but Le Pen has so far refused to repay them, denying any wrong-doing.

“In order to reimburse, I’d have had to have received the funds, but my name isn’t François Fillon,” Le Pen was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying earlier this month.

“Moreover, I formally contest this unilateral and illegal decision,” Le Pen told AFP.

Her failure to repay the EU parliament means Le Pen faces a pay cut of some €7,000 a month as punishment.

French investigators have also opened a preliminary inquiry for fraud following the claims made in the OLAF report.


Written by Andrew Coates

February 18, 2017 at 5:06 pm

3 Responses

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  1. Andrew Coates

    February 19, 2017 at 1:42 pm

  2. I was discussing the FN’s financial shenanigans with some pals yesterday: one thing we felt likely was that Le Pen’s supporters wouldn’t worry too much if she had wangled funds off the EU, that it might well be seen as fair gains. Kipper voters here don’t seem worried that Farage & Co have been getting nice salaries off an institution they all despise.

    On a broader plain, I had this letter in the Weekly Worker about the significance of the French election:

    Reading Mike Macnair’s thoughtful piece on United States foreign policy under Donald Trump (‘The new president and the new global order’, January 26) brought to my mind something that Mike said to me last summer: that those hoping for a genuine British exit from the EU, as opposed to a fudged deal, would need to bank upon the victory of Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election this coming spring.

    I am convinced that the French presidential election, were Le Pen to be elected, would be a turning point not merely in French, or even just in European, but in global affairs. She has made it clear that unless the EU becomes no more than an informal arrangement amongst sovereign states — that is, more or less dissolves itself — she will campaign for France to leave. She already intends to pull France out of the euro, which would cause severe problems for the economy of Europe.

    The EU can cope with Britain’s departure, as it was always semi-detached. France was a founder-member of what is now the EU — it is central to it; were France to leave, this would completely destabilise it. The course would be set for the disintegration of the EU in a flurry of rightwing nationalism – a course beset with uncertainty and the danger of the revival of national rivalries amongst the European powers.

    Were this to occur, then the realisation of Trump’s dream of a disintegrated EU would mean that the US ruling class would need to adopt his particular version of an ‘America first’ policy. Mike points in his article to the close relationship between the EU and Nato in respect of the establishment and subsequent exercising of US power in Europe: could Nato exist as an institution if Europe fell apart into a gaggle of nation-states that were potentially or even actually rivals? The US would then need to relate in a multilateral manner to the nation-states of Europe, and would probably have to step in, perhaps with Russian help, were their rivalries to get out of hand. This would almost certainly further destabilise an already unstable continent.

    Most authorities feel that Le Pen is unlikely to win the election, and I tend to agree with them. If she loses, then the US ruling class can breathe rather more freely, bourgeois opposition to Trump can take off in earnest and the British capitalist class can seek its preferred ‘least worse’ option of a fudged deal with the EU. Nevertheless, a victory on her part is not impossible: after all, who two or three years back would have thought it possible that Britain would vote to leave the EU and that Trump would become US president?

    The ruling classes all around the world will be preparing for this eventuality; on our side, we who want a socialist alternative to both the status quo and a world determined by Le Pen and Trump must consider how we should respond, were she to win the election and thereby trigger the biggest upheaval in world geopolitics since the end of World War II.

    Dr Paul

    February 19, 2017 at 11:26 pm

  3. Paul see also summary of the article by Philippe Marlière at the end of the post on the French Communists

    Andrew Coates

    February 21, 2017 at 6:45 pm

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