The far-right French MEP, Marine Le Pen, has no intention of reimbursing the sum (almost 300,000 euros) of which the European Parliament is demanding repayment. This is for having paid Catherine Griset as her MEP assistant, whilst at the time the latter was also the Secretary and subsequently the Principal Private Secretary for the National Front leader. The story was being reported by a variety of French media sources yesterday (Tuesday).
Le Pen stated to the Reuters news agency, “I will not be subject to persecution, to this unilateral decision made by my political opponents. It is being provisionally enforced in flagrant violation of the rule of law, my right to a fair hearing, without any evidence. Indeed the other interested parties have not waited for the court, to which I have submitted an application, to rule on the merits of the case.”
Ms Griset was an accredited assistant at the European Parliament for a number of years but it is alleged that she did not in fact work at the institution’s premises.
It is the Parliament’s view that Le Pen undertook a “recognised activity” at the National Front’s head office in Nanterre. This is, of course, the party of which she is President. Griset worked under the direct authority of the latter. In the case, the total amount claimed is around 298,400 euros.
In the absence of any reimbursement by the required time limits – indeed action before today (Wednesday February 1st) – Ms Le Pen was at risk of losing half of her MEP salary. Media sources have subsequently said that, owing to Le Pen’s inaction, this will now happen.