Marine Le Pen's get together is suspected by French justice of getting paid everlasting workers from European Parliament funds. Dive into the guts of an investigation which is already very costly, within the true sense of the time period, on the Nationwide Gathering.
An alarmist chief and a determined get together. On July 9, 2018, at a press convention, Marine Le Pen launched an enchantment for donations. On the verge of cessation of cost, his get together, so as to survive, wants the generosity of the French after the seizure by the courts of two million euros in public subsidies – sum finally reduced to a million. This sequestration has been demanded by French judges who’ve been investigating since 2016 the presumed fictitious jobs of European assistants from the FN, now RN.
The European Parliament and the Le Pen household are an previous story. Jean-Marie Le Pen, the patriarch, spent greater than 30 years within the assemblies of Brussels and Strasbourg. A satisfied Europhobe, he defined that he needed to “struggle the enemy from the within”. However sitting within the European Parliament was additionally a monetary alternative for the FN, as for a lot of the events. Particularly at a time, between the 80s and the 2000s, when the rules weren’t very strict and controls virtually non-existent.
Money for MPs
“Earlier than 1999, it was taking place on the proper franquette, tells us Fernand Le Rachinel, the previous FN printer, MEP, and fellow traveler of Jean-Marie Le Pen. Parliamentarians loved plenty of benefits and so they benefited enormously from the system! All journey bills had been paid in money. And, each week, the deputies went to the cashier and had been paid within the forex of their alternative.“
In response to him, there have been additionally, at the moment, very many fictitious jobs paid by the Parliament. “In all of the events, there have been deputies who labored with their wives, their mistresses, their daughters and their sons …“However in 2009, regulations are growing and tightening. Parliament decides to higher management public funds. “At the moment, we should always have introduced order, however all of the events didn’t. And the Entrance didn’t do it!, believes Fernand Le Rachinel, breaking with the FN since October 2008. They continued to do as earlier than, considering it wouldn't be an issue.“
“As soon as assistants, the Entrance now not gave them something”
On the origin of this case allegedly fictitious jobs of the FN – opened, inter alia, for “embezzlement of public funds, swindles in organized gang, breach of belief, forgery and use of forgery and hid work” – there could be the need fixed and the compelling want to economize. The European elections made it doable to cut back the FN's payroll. “In every election, it was extra means or much less means for the events, remembers Fernand Le Rachinel. It was in accordance with the outcomes that we might rent or not collaborators. “
“Everybody was concerned in politics, lengthy earlier than they had been within the European Parliament!“Fernand Le Rachinel
A sworn statement corroborated by Jean-Pierre Reveau, one of many founders of the far-right get together. “It was Le Pen who determined who could be a candidate for the European Parliament, and due to this fact requested the elected representatives to take care, by way of the assistants, of a sure variety of folks, says the person who was additionally the treasurer of the FN for 25 years, till 2009. As soon as they had been assistants, the Entrance gave them nothing.“Since an MEP grew to become the employer of a collaborator, European funds had been used to pay salaries.
Jean-Marie Le Pen to the judges: “Your questions appear ridiculous”
Indicted on September 12, 2019 for embezzlement of public funds and complicity in embezzlement of public funds, Jean-Marie Le Pen is suspected of getting orchestrated this alleged “system”. And to have supervised the budgetary envelopes allotted to the parliamentary help of all of the elected frontist. Earlier than the judges, the founding father of the FN denied:
“I by no means taken care of the envelopes of my fellow MPs (…) I already discovered it tiring to handle mine (staff, editor's notice), not to mention others …“Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jean-Marie Le Pen, who chaired the FN on the time, can be suspected of getting requested MEPs from his group to make use of a few of his private collaborators, notably his bodyguard Thierry Légier and his non-public secretary. These wouldn’t have produced strictly parliamentary work, in accordance with the investigators.
In response to statements that we had been in a position to seek the advice of, 515,453 euros had been paid by the Parliament to compensate the bodyguard of Jean-Marie Le Pen and 321,602 euros for his non-public secretary, through the help envelope for MP Le Rachinel . “Parliament has not misplaced a single penny on this matter!“, assures the latter. As a result of, for Fernand Le Rachinel, this cash was in all methods at his disposal to remunerate collaborators. The Parliament, civil get together, estimates quite the opposite to have been cheated. He estimates the harm with a number of million euros.
Requested by the judges about these employment contracts, Jean-Marie Le Pen didn’t reply on the deserves: “These questions appear ridiculous, excuse me. I discover it extraordinary that we commit time to those issues“, did he declare.
“I used to be requested to rent him”
If the previous relations of Jean-Marie Le Pen unite to defend the get together and its founder, certainly one of them nevertheless sows doubt. Jean-Claude Martinez, MEP FN for 20 years – he has since slammed the door – says that he would have “imposed” a full-time assistant, based mostly within the get together, whereas he already employed a collaborator within the driving.
This assistant, Huguette Fatna, is now a regional councilor for Ile-de-France. An awesome good friend of Marine Le Pen, she is the godmother of certainly one of her daughters. She took care of the French abroad departments and territories and was employed for 17 years by Jean-Claude Martinez.
► VIDEO – Huguette Fatna presents herself because the nationwide secretary of the FN in command of the DOM-TOM, on this video shot by the get together in 2007:
“She established contacts with Martinique, she accompanied me in Martinique, she organized the night of Martinique… “, Says Jean-Claude Martinez. He evokes”serving to palms“Given on a sizzling file in these years in Brussels: that of the West Indian banana.”When Huguette, by the easy incontrovertible fact that she is Martinican, contacts the banana planters, she is within the file that we’re coping with …“However is that why you employed her? We ask her.”No … I didn't rent her … At one level, I needed to rent Huguette … Everybody knew Huguette …“, he mumbled. It will be troublesome, he mentioned, to justify the roughly 30,00zero hours of labor that Huguette Fatna is meant to have spent in her service.
Phrases that his former assistant categorically rejects. The fees of fictitious jobs are each vexing and defamatory for her. “I all the time inquired about all the things that was happening abroad by way of agriculture, pearls in Tahiti, and so forth., in order that Mr. Martinez might work. And that takes time!, assures Huguette Fatna. What did he assume Mr. Martinez? That I dance biguine the remainder of the time on the workplace? If Mr. Martinez needed me to do extra, it was as much as him to ask me.“It ought to be famous that Huguette Fatna, at this stage of the investigation, will not be questioned by the French judges.
Financial savings to be made?
Was Marine Le Pen conscious of the “system” denounced by the European Parliament when she took over the reins of the get together in 2011? That is what the police from the Central Workplace towards Corruption and Monetary and Fiscal Offenses (OCLCIFF), in command of investigations, sought to determine. Within the search, they notably seized notes written by the treasurer of the get together, and supposed for Marine Le Pen, which might allow them to assume that the European elections had been a possibility to economize. On this letter written in 2012, the FN treasurer, Wallerand de Saint-Simply, writes:
- “My expensive Marine, listed below are the 2013 accounts (…). In 2013, spending was 100,00zero euros larger per 30 days than anticipated. This spending due to this fact tends to slide. Within the coming years and in all circumstances , we’ll solely get out of it if we save some huge cash by way of the European Parliament and get further payouts. “
The treasurer additionally writes:
- “The Nationwide Entrance should be capable of make financial savings, within the occasion of a tough blow (…). Good ends in the European elections and within the regional elections would give round a million euros of extra accessible per yr.”
“What Marine is asking us is like signing for fictitious jobs”
The 2014 European elections had been an electoral success for the FN, which went from three to 24 MEPs. In response to testimony gathered by the investigators, directions got to the newly elected FN throughout a gathering in June 2014 in Brussels, within the presence of Marine Le Pen. A former FN collaborator in Parliament informed us what he noticed that day: “I noticed some members leaving the room, fairly stunned. From what I used to be informed, Marine Le Pen had simply informed them: “Together with your price range to pay your staff (round 24,00zero euros per 30 days and per MEP, editor's notice), you solely take one worker. The remainder is for the get together. “.”
Jean-Luc Schaffhauser and Aymeric Chauprade MEPs are mentioned to have refused the circumstances that might have been set that day. In an electronic mail despatched to Wallerand de Saint-Simply treasurer on June 22, 2014, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser appears to elucidate the rationale for his refusal:
- Jean-Luc Schaffhauser: “What Marine asks us is equal to signing for fictitious jobs… and it’s the deputy who’s criminally accountable on his personal cash, even when it’s the get together which is the beneficiary… I perceive the explanations of Marine, however we will likely be turned on as a result of we will definitely have a look at our makes use of beneath the microscope with such a big group…“
- Response from Wallerand de Saint-Simply: “I believe Marine is aware of all about it“
The judges additionally found a disturbing textual content alternate between Marine Le Pen and Julien Odoul – the regional consultant RN who lately created an incident with a veiled mother. The latter occupied the publish of particular adviser to the cupboard of Marine Le Pen, however he was additionally, from October 2014, native parliamentary assistant to Mylène Troszczynski, a frontist MEP. Nevertheless, 4 months later, on February 10, 2015, he despatched a message to Marine Le Pen who may counsel that he didn’t actually know the parliamentarian who employed him:
- SMS from Julien Odoul to Marine Le Pen: “Wouldn’t it be doable for me to come back to Strasbourg tomorrow to see how a session within the European Parliament goes, meet the MEPs and get to know Mylène Troszczynski, to whom I’m connected?“
- Response by SMS from Marine Le Pen: “Sure after all“
A presidential adviser paid by the Parliament?
The investigators additionally marvel if a European assistant contract – on the envelope of Jean-Marie Le Pen – was not used to remunerate an adviser employed for the presidential marketing campaign of Marine Le Pen in 2012. This adviser, Gaël Nofri defined in minutes that he was to be employed by the Marine Le Pen marketing campaign finance affiliation. However that he would have lastly been requested to vary his contract to move to the European Parliament. Requested about this level by the judges on September 12, 2019, Jean-Marie Le Pen replied: “In precept, Mr. Nofri labored for me (…). He could have labored for Ms. Le Pen's election marketing campaign after workplace hours.“
An examination of the paperwork seized by the investigators additionally offers the sensation that FN MEPs had been seeking to exhaust their credit when there have been any left on the finish of the yr. On November 13, 2014, Nicolas Bay wrote an electronic mail to the accounting agency Amboise Audit – headed by Nicolas Crochet – who manages the contracts of the European assistants of the FN. The MEP signifies that there’s cash left in his envelope to pay assistants and that he due to this fact needs to rent a CDD:
“Howdy, I nonetheless have credit accessible in my envelope to pay my parliamentary assistants. With a purpose to use the remaining funds accessible for 2014, please proceed with the hiring on CDD of two months of this particular person: Eric G. (… ) Internet wage: 5,00zero euros / month. Fastened-term contract from November 1 to December 31, 2014. Thanks, see you quickly. Nicolas. “
A former worker of the FN group stationed in Brussels claims to be, like a few of his colleagues, fallen from the clouds when the “affair” broke out within the press. “Sure licensed collaborators like me, found at the moment that they’d colleagues whom they’d by no means met. They’d by no means collaborated with them, by no means exchanged a single electronic mail!“Additionally in accordance with this witness, some FN MEPs additionally suffered a shock at the moment.”I ran right into a crying FN electedwoman within the corridors of the European Parliament when she found that she was concerned on this affair, fairly naively. She didn't assume she had achieved something mistaken. Afterwards, it’s fairly paradoxical for a deputy who is meant to legislate, to disregard the regulation …“
At this stage of the investigations, round twenty individuals are beneath investigation, FN leaders, ex-MEPs and collaborators.
The Yann Maréchal-Le Pen case
European parliamentary help funds have additionally made it doable to rent relations and members of the Le Pen household. Thus Marine Le Pen, when she was a member of the European Parliament, employed as a neighborhood assistant the one who accompanied her for a number of years, Louis Aliot. A component-time job paid 5,00zero euros gross per 30 days (learn additionally our article on remuneration at the National Gathering).
Marine le Pen's sister, Yann Maréchal-Le Pen – Marion Maréchal's mom – was additionally a European parliamentary assistant for a number of years with MEP Bruno Gollnisch. The issue, for the investigators, is that she then retained the mission for which the get together had beforehand paid her: director of main FN demonstrations. Certainly, Yann Maréchal-Le Pen was accountable for organising get together congresses, summer time universities, and so forth. “It’s all the time been his function, ensures Jean-Pierre Reveau, the previous treasurer of the get together. Yann arrived very early within the motion. She was in command of organizing conferences, massive conferences, however she all the time stayed in her place and she or he was indirectly concerned in politics.“
Charged by the judges in March 2019, Yann Maréchal-Le Pen confirmed on minutes that his mission was to arrange the main occasions of the FN. However, in accordance with her, her employer, Bruno Gollnisch, a determine of the get together, additionally benefited from these demonstrations. There’s due to this fact nothing unlawful in the truth that she was paid from her MEP envelope. Right here is an extract from his listening to by French justice, in March 2019:
- Yann Maréchal: “Mr. Gollnisch supplied to make use of me to proceed organizing the main FN occasions. (…)
- I’ve by no means been to the European Parliament. I’ve by no means labored on a European political file, I shouldn’t have the talents to take action, and this has by no means been requested of me.”
- Query from the choose: “Why not stay an worker of the FN?“
- Response from Yann Maréchal: “I have no idea.“
- Query from the choose: “Did the FN have monetary issues now not permitting it to take cost of your remuneration?“
- Response from Yann Maréchal: “I have no idea, maybe, I’m not within the secret mysteries of the treasurer.”
- Query from the choose: “Bruno Gollnisch couldn’t cite an occasion organized for himself by you as a parliamentary attaché (…) Do you verify?“
- Response from Yann Maréchal: “Sure, I didn’t arrange an occasion specifically for Bruno Gollnisch, it was not my job.“
French police investigations additionally present that Yann Maréchal-Le Pen was virtually employed as an assistant by his sister, Marine, as proven by this alternate of emails seized by investigators between the accountant accountable for managing the European assistants of the FN and Yann Marshal-Le Pen:
- Accounting : “Howdy Yann, please discover connected your employment contract (…). I’ve to make you spend two thirds on Bruno Gollnisch and one third on Marine. I’ll make you a CDI for each.“
- Yann Maréchal: “Wouldn't it’s simpler to make a Entrance contract (nationwide, Editor's notice) after? Isn't it dangerous for Marine to take me on her? You already know that the key doesn’t exist with us …“
The police investigation would present that Marine Le Pen finally didn’t rent her sister as a parliamentary assistant. Then again, the police investigation exhibits that it intervened personally in order that Yann Maréchal-Le Pen advantages from distinctive premiums on European funds. On January 12, 2014, in an SMS to the assistant of the FN group in Brussels, Marine Le Pen wrote:
“Occupied with the premium for Yann”
The assistant sends an SMS a bit later to the accountant in command of assistants:
“Did you obtain my electronic mail to calculate the 1,500 euros internet bonus for Yann? Marine requested me to insist.”
This identical assistant sends an electronic mail to the accountant a couple of days later:
“Marine requested me to pay a premium of 1,500 euros to Yann. I submitted the request to the European Parliament. I counsel doing so by reimbursement of bills, which avoids taxing them.”
Partial judges, in accordance with the RN
Solicited, the members of the Le Pen household didn’t want to reply us. Nevertheless, the treasurer of the Nationwide Rally, Wallerand de Saint-Simply, accepted our request for an interview. He sees on this court docket case a political maneuver supposed to weaken the get together financially and politically: “For me, that is a fully abusive affair, led by political opponents of the left and much left within the European Parliament and led by judges who’re members of the Judicial Union, a union of the far left, extraordinarily politicized, says the treasurer. With regard to those judges, we’ve got doubts as to their capability to conduct a case with full impartiality.“