Britain’s Evening Standard reports:
French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has reportedly admitted setting up a bogus job in the European parliament for her ex-paratrooper bodyguard nicknamed “The Gorilla”. The move was allegedly part of a misuse of EU funds — worth up to £300,000 to Ms Le Pen’s far-Right party Front National — that could derail her presidential bid and even land her in jail.
A previously confidential report by Olaf, the European Anti-Fraud Office, contains the allegations, all published today in French investigative outlets Mediapart and Marianne. They say MEP Ms Le Pen made 6ft 2in, 16st Thierry Legier, 51, a “parliamentary assistant” on £6,000 per month.
But he has never been linked to any EU work, meaning his wages received from European taxpayers, including Britons, should never have been paid. The EU parliament estimates the taxpayers’ total loss from the two salaries as approaching £300,000. Paris prosecutors have begun a judicial investigation of corruption allegations which carry jail sentences of up to 10 years.
More from the The Local France:
French far-right leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen on Friday furiously rejected reports that she has admitted to giving her bodyguard a fake job as a European parliamentary aide.
“It’s a bare-faced lie. I never admitted to anything of the sort,” Le Pen told France Bleu radio during a campaign stop in eastern France, saying she had never even met EU investigators to discuss the matter.
The report said Le Pen had justified Legier’s contract as a way of getting parliament to reimburse her for unpaid salaries and expenses. Le Pen on Friday admitted to “an accounting settlement” but denied that Legier’s contract had been fictitious.
Earlier this week Le Pen vowed to repeal same-sex marriage if elected.