Thursday, July 25, 2024

Court to rule today on Jean-Marie Le Pen’s fitness to stand trial in France’s far-right leader’s trial

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Jean-Marie Le Pen, 95, will appear before a Paris court next Wednesday to hear the decision, after expert opinion, on whether he will be able to prepare his defence and attend the trial against his daughter and far-right leader, Marine Le Pen.

“Mr. Le Pen is no longer able to move and his faculties are seriously affected,” his lawyer, Francois Wagner, told the court.

The defendants also include 11 European MEPs elected on National Front lists, 12 of their parliamentary assistants and four party officials.

In September, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and 26 members of her National Union (RN, by its French acronym) party will go on trial on suspicion of embezzling European funds, a Paris court announced.

The judges suspect that between 2004 and 2016, National Front representatives implemented “in a coordinated and deliberate manner” a “transfer system” of envelopes (€21,000 per month) allocated by the European Union to each MEP, paying the salaries of parliamentary assistants who worked wholly or partly for the party.

The investigation began in March 2015, when the European Parliament announced that it had referred possible wrongdoing by the National Front to the European Union’s anti-fraud office, OLAF, regarding salaries paid to parliamentary assistants.

In 2016, the investigations were handed over to two financial investigating judges in Paris.

Marine Le Pen was charged in June 2017 with breach of trust and complicity, charges that were later reclassified as “embezzlement of public funds”.

In 2018, the European Parliament estimated its losses at around €6.8 million in the years from 2009 to 2017.

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