French Prosecutors Investigating Marine Le Pen’s Campaign Finances

French prosecutors are reportedly investigating allegations of “illegal” financing of Marine Le Pen’s 2022 presidential campaign.

French news outlet BFMTV reported on Tuesday, citing sources, that prosecutors have opened an investigation into “suspicious or illegal financing” by Marine Le Pen and her right-wing National Rally (RN) party during the 2022 presidential election.

According to the outlet, a judicial inquiry was initiated after the French National Commission for Campaign Accounts and Political Financing (CNCCFP) submitted a report to the courts last April. French law prohibits election candidates from exceeding established spending limits during their campaigns. If candidates adhere to these limits, the state reimburses a portion of their expenses. If not, the CNCCFP can adjust electoral accounts, reduce the candidate’s reimbursement amount, and, if deemed necessary, refer the case for investigation.

The commission allegedly identified discrepancies in several 2022 campaigns, but only Le Pen’s case has progressed to an investigation, BFMTV claimed. The potential consequences for Le Pen and the RN if the investigation reveals evidence of illegalities remain unclear. Neither has commented on the report.

This news follows the RN’s strong performance in the recent EU parliamentary vote and its second-place finish in the weekend’s French elections, behind the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) and President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Ensemble coalition. The New Popular Front bloc secured 182 seats but failed to achieve an overall majority, resulting in a hung parliament and challenges for the French government.

Le Pen, along with her father and RN founder Jean-Marie, is also embroiled in an embezzlement case. The case centers around suspicions that both Le Pens and other RN members elected to the European Parliament misused parliamentary funds through a fake jobs scheme starting in 2004. Le Pen and her party have denied any wrongdoing.

The trial is scheduled to begin in Paris in September. If convicted, Le Pen faces a possible ten-year prison sentence and a ban on holding public office. All suspected parties also face fines up to double the amount of funds allegedly embezzled. The scheme reportedly cost the European Parliament an estimated €6.8 million ($7.4 million).