EU parliament refers French far-right to anti-fraud office

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 09, 2015 7:23 PM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Parliament said on Monday it had alerted the EU fraud squad to possible abuses of funding for lawmakers' assistants by the French far-right party the National Front.

In a statement on Monday, the parliament said its president, Martin Schulz, had informed OLAF, the bloc's anti-corruption agency, after finding that 20 people being paid from the EU budget as lawmakers' assistants appeared in National Front documents as officials of the party's national organization.

"Assistants paid by the European Parliament must perform work directly linked to the exercise of a member’s parliamentary mandate," said the statement issued by the legislature.

There was no immediate comment from OLAF or the National Front, whose leader Marine Le Pen sits in the EU legislature along with 22 supporters, including her father Jean-Marie, a founder of the anti-EU, anti-immigration party.

The National Front is leading in some French opinion polls, benefiting from discontent with Socialist President Francois Hollande and with high levels of unemployment.

(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Ken Wills)