Net tightens around French far-right leader Le Pen in EU 'fake jobs' probe

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The chief of staff and senior bodyguard of France's far-right Front National party leader and presidential election candidate Marine Le Pen were on Wednesday questioned in police custody as part of an investigation into alleged fraudulent payments made to them by Le Pen out of European Parliament funds dedicated to remunerating parliamentary assistants. Le Pen's chief of staff, Catherine Griset, was later placed under formal investigation. The case, which mirrors the scandal surrounding conservative presidential candidate François Fillon, now threatens to become more than a severe embarrassment to Le Pen, one of the frontrunners in the election, whose campaign hinges on her image as an anti-establishment alternative to a corrupt political class.

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Two days after a French police raid on the premises of France’s far-right Front National party on Monday, when a number of items including computer hard discs were seized, investigators from the police anti-corruption and financial crime agency, OCLCIFF, on Wednesday questioned the chief of staff and senior bodyguard of the party’s leader Marine Le Pen as part of a judicial investigation into suspected fraudulent payments made to them by Le Pen out of European Parliament funds.