A FORMER aide to French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has made new allegations about fraudulent party financing.
Gael Nofri said that in 2012 the National Front had recruited him into Le Pen’s presidential campaign team, using a fictitious European Parliament contract. It has been reported that provided a way for the party to avoid declaring campaign spending.
The National Front is under investigation for alleged misuse of European Parliament funds already.
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Recent polls suggest that Le Pen is on course to win the first round of the presidential election in April, but centrist Emmanuel Macron is gaining ground and looks likely to beat the National Front leader in the May run off vote.
Nofri told French media that he had signed up to work for Le Pen in September 2011. “In 2012 I was told: ‘There is a problem, we have to do it via a European Parliament contract.’ I refused,” he said.
Nofri has since become a municipal councillor in Nice with the centre-right Republicans party, having severed his links to the National Front. Nofri also said that, later in 2012, he was given a contract to work with National Front accountant Nicolas Crochet but “never set foot” in Crochet’s office.
French news website Mediapart has reported that fraud investigators have found evidence of 4500 euro (£3834) in monthly payments to Nofri from 2012, identifying him as a European Parliament assistant to MEP Jean-Marie Le Pen – Marine’s father and the former National Front leader. “I was never Jean-Marie Le Pen’s assistant,” Nofri added.
The two main left-leaning candidates in France’s presidential election will not join forces after all.
Meanwhile, Socialist Benoit Hamon and Jean-Luc Melenchon, a former member of the Socialist Party who is supported by the Communists, will not join forces in the election. Opinion polls suggest that neither has a chance of reaching the second round but the pair have shown little appetite for joining forces since Hamon won the Socialist primary last month.