Earlier in the day, media reported that French investigators asked the European Parliament to waive Le Pen’s parliamentary immunity over the probe concerning fraudulent jobs of her National Front (FN) party assistants.
“It is no wonder that the justice is interfering…. It is all part of a pre-election context,” said Robert Menard, the mayor of the French city of Beziers and Le Pen’s aide.
He stressed that the investigation was resumed after two years since it had been launched “immediately before the elections and definitely in order to harm Le Pen and her party.”
Earlier in the day, Le Pen said that she was not surprised over the authorities’ attempt to deprive her of the European Parliament’s immunity.
French prosecutors reportedly launched an investigation in 2015 to look into Le Pen’s EU parliamentary assistants allegedly being fraudulently paid for their services with EU funds while working for FN. According to Europe 1 broadcaster, the request for waiving Le Pen’s parliamentary immunity was filed with the European Parliament in late March. The move followed Le Pen’s refusal in late February to appear for questioning in connection with an investigation into FN assistants.
The first round of French presidential election is scheduled for April 23. The run-off between the top two contenders is expected to take place on May 7.
According to recent polls, Le Pen is expected to gain 23 percent of the votes in the first round and face independent candidate Emmanuel Macron in the run-off.