associate sponsors

Havells
HDFC

Europe begins process of lifting Le Pen's immunity over misuse of funds | Reuters

By Francesco Guarascio
| BRUSSELS

BRUSSELS European Union lawmakers began on Wednesday a process to lift French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen's immunity over alleged misuse of EU funds, although they will not summon her before next week's run-off vote.French judges had asked the European parliament to lift her immunity from prosecution as a member of the EU legislature to allow further investigation into allegations she misused the funds to pay for National Front party assistants.The French request "has been forwarded to the legal affairs committee of the European parliament, which is in charge of these issues", the chairman of the legislature, Antonio Tajani, told lawmakers at the beginning of a formal sitting in Brussels. This step marks the formal beginning of the procedure.

Le Pen, who staunchly opposes the EU, is campaigning for the May 7 run-off, after coming second at Sunday's first round.She has denounced legal proceedings against her as political interference.Tajani said that a procedure was also launched over lifting the immunity of another member of the National Front, Marie-Christine Boutonnet, for a similar case of alleged misuse of EU funds.

In addition to the case over misused EU funds, the parliament is also assessing whether to strip Le Pen of her immunity for a separate investigation on defamation.Parliament officials said a hearing on her pending cases, initially pencilled for next week, was postponed due to the heavy legislative agenda of the legal affairs committee, which oversees cases of immunity suspension. Le Pen could have decided not to attend.

It takes usually several months for the parliament to decide on immunity waivers. Most cases have resulted in the lawmakers under investigation being stripped of their immunity.The EU legislature removed Le Pen's immunity in March in relation to another French investigation over her posting of pictures of Islamic State violence on social media, an offence that in France can carry a penalty of three years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros ($81,700).EU lawmakers have also already sanctioned Le Pen for misspending EU funds. They want her to reimburse 300,000 euros ($330,000). Since February, her monthly salary as an EU lawmaker has been cut by half to about 3,000 euros and other allowances have been withdrawn after she refused to pay. (Editing by Louise Ireland)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.


Updated Date: Apr 26, 2017 22:31 PM

Also Watch

Social Media Star: Abhishek Bachchan, Varun Grover reveal how they handle selfies, trolls and broccoli
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 It's a Wrap: Soorma star Diljit Dosanjh and Hockey legend Sandeep Singh in conversation with Parul Sharma
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 Watch: Dalit man in Uttar Pradesh defies decades of prejudice by taking out baraat in Thakur-dominated Nizampur village
  • Monday, July 16, 2018 India's water crisis: After govt apathy, Odisha farmer carves out 3-km canal from hills to tackle scarcity in village
  • Sunday, July 15, 2018 Maurizio Sarri, named as new Chelsea manager, is owner Roman Abramovich's latest gamble in quest for 'perfect football'

Also See