Marine Le Pen charged over European Union funding scandal

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Le Pen has denied any wrongdoing and denied the allegations which she called political "persecution" against her.

The European Parliament is seeking a repayment of 340,000 euros (380,000 dollars) of misused funds from Le Pen, who, they allege, claimed back salaries from the European Parliament between 2009 and 2016 for two supposed aides who were actually working for her party.

Instead, investigators say this money was used to pay for staffers working for Le Pen's National Front. She was also charged for being complicit in the whole party's breach of trust, as the party leader.

On March 10, Le Pen refused to answer their questions citing her immunity from prosecution as a Member of the European Parliament, leading the French prosecutors to ask the EU Parliament to lift her immunity, which it did.

The case was triggered by a complaint from the European parliament, which accused the Front National of defrauding it on a large scale.

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Ms Le Pen ran for president in France's May election, on an anti-immigration, anti-EU platform.

In her manifesto Le Pen promised to create an "improved" form of civil unions in the country to "replace" the equal marriage law passed under the current Socialist government. Because of that, she had been placed under investigation for "dissemination of violent images".

At the time, Le Pen was competing closely with ultimate victor Macron.

Le Pen plans to file an urgent demand Monday at the Appeals Court asking that the preliminary charges be annulled due to "the violation of the principle of separation of powers", her lawyer, Rodolphe Bosselut, said in a statement. The case goes to trial if they do.

Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, came a distant second during her bid for the French Presidency earlier this year, losing out to Emmanuel Macron. Aliot last week refused to respond to a summons by investigators, French media reported.

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