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Le Pen adviser in probe over loans

China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-27 14:09

PARIS - Frederic Chatillon, an adviser to French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, on Saturday was put under formal investigation for allegedly making an illegal loan to Le Pen's National Front party. The latest news is expected to deepen the uncertainty of the race as presidential hopeful Francois Fillo faces a troublesome scandal, with frontrunner Emmanueal Macron being criticized for his policies.

Chatillon, a 49-year-old businessman and communication adviser, faces charges of fraud and misappropriation of social assets to illegally finance the National Front party regional and European campaigns in 2014 and 2015.

Chatillon has already been charged with illegal campaign financing in 2012 presidential and legislative elections through his media company Riwal.

As the election comes closer, Le Pen's campaign has already been tainted with allegations that she used European parliament funds to pay her France-based party staff.

Her chief of staff was put under formal investigation earlier this week.

Le Pen rejected the accusation when responding to investigators' questions over European fund misuse claims.

She still remains one of the election's frontrunners.

Le Pen pledged to slash migration, repatriate all illegal migrants and impose taxes on the jobs being done by foreigners.


The situation is also not optimistic for Le Pen's conservative opponent Fillon.

French prosecutors on Friday decided to launch a full judicial inquiry into claims that Fillon paid his wife Penelope Fillon for fake jobs.

The scandal has put the former prime minister into a "perilous period, both legally and politically," the Liberation daily commented in a report.

On Jan 25, the satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaine broke "Penelopegate" after revealing that she had been paid 900,000 euros ($953,600) for her jobs as her husband's parliamentary assistant and at a culture magazine. However, there was no evidence she had really worked, the report added.

The allegations sent the conservative politician, who projected himself as a honest and morally irreproachable contender, backpedaling.

Fillon, who was previously leading the race, has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying his wife's job as his parliamentary assistant is "perfectly justified".

Under French law, it's legal for lawmakers to hire family members as their assistants, but it's illegal to pay them for a fictitious job.


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