The European Parliament is poised to launch proceedings to reclaim “non-compliant” expenses from the far-right parliamentary grouping that includes France's Front National, Mediapart has learnt. The total amount of the expenses involved, which include “unreasonable” claims of meals costing 400 euros a person, and the purchase of 228 bottles of champagne as gifts, comes to 427,000 euros. Ludovic Lamant and Marine Turchi report.
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, 28, granddaughter of the founder of France's far-right party Front National, who is regarded as a potential future leader of the party currently headed by her aunt Marine Le Pen, was invited to the US Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland where she told the audience that a 'France first' campaign, mirrored on US president Donald Trump's slogan, is rallied by 'youth ready for this fight in Europe today'.
France's far-right Front National party has been placed under investigation by Paris magistrates over suspicion it fraudulently placed France-based staff on the European Parliament payroll as assistants to its sitting MEPs.
Two former executives at giant French cement manufacturers Lafarge and the head of its security – a former election candidate for Marine Le Pen's far-right Front National – have been formally placed under investigation for alleged “financing of terrorism”. It follows an investigation by French prosecutors into links between the French group – now merged with a Swiss firm – and jihadist groups such as Islamic State. In 2013 and 2014 the cement group maintained its activities in zones in Syria which were at the time controlled by IS and other armed factions. Fabrice Arfi, Michel Deléan and Julien Antoine report.
The far-right party, shaken by its collapse in support at the final post of May's presidential election, is holding a two-day closed-door meeting to debate what its leader Marine Le Pen called a 're-founding of the Front National', including a re-think of its policies that France should leave the eurozone and European Union, while also pondering a change of its name.
Far-right Front National party leader Marine Le Pen once dreamed of leading the principal opposition party to Emmanuel Macron and of marshaling a hundred or more members of parliament to push her party's hard nationalist agenda, but now she could well end up as its only member in the National Assembly.
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, 27, the hardline niece of far-right Front National leader Marine Le Pen and one of the party's two MPs, said she has decided for 'personal and political reasons' to quit active politics in a decision her grandfather Jean-Marie Le Pen described as a 'desertion'.
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