Le Pen refuses police interview over funding claims

Paris, Feb 24 (IANS) French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has refused a police interview about her alleged misuse of EU funds.

The far-right leader denied wrongdoing and claimed that the allegations were a plot to derail her campaign, BBC reported on Friday.

On Wednesday, Le Pen’s personal assistant Catherine Griset was placed under police investigation over allegations that her National Front (FN) party defrauded the European Parliament of more than 300,000 euros ($321,000).

“I will not respond [to the summons] during the election campaign,” said Le Pen on Friday.

“During this period, there cannot be the neutrality or calm necessary for the justice system to function properly,” she added.

According to the reports, Le Penn used the European Parliament funding to pay the salary of Griset as well as her bodyguard Thierry Legier for jobs in France rather than at the European Parliament.

Griset is also close friend of Le Pen as well as her cabinet director. Le Pen’s bodyguard was also detained on Wednesday, but later released.

A deadline to repay the money elapsed at the end of January, BBC reported.

Le Pen said then that she had no intention of complying, and as a European member of parliament police cannot force her into questioning.

She has repeatedly claimed that she is a victim of a politically-motivated vendetta.