French investigators probe far-right leader Le Pen's 2022 campaign finances

French investigators are looking into far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen's 2022 campaign finances for an election she lost to President Emmanuel Macron, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

A probe was opened on 2 July to examine allegations of embezzlement, forgery, fraud, and that a candidate on an electoral campaign accepted a loan, the Paris prosecutor's office said, giving no further details.

The National Commission for Campaign Accounts and Political Financing (CNCCFP), in charge of monitoring candidates’ expenses, had alerted the prosecutor's office last year.

Marine Le Pen, then head of the far-right National Rally (RN) party, had invested around 11.5 million euros in her third bid for the presidency in 2022 – the second time she faced Macron in the run-off and lost to him.

In December 2022, the CNCCFP had objected to expenses linked to putting up and taking down campaigning material on 12 buses, describing it as "irregular".

The RN leader appealed but then dropped the case.

In her 2017 campaign against Macron, the commission had rejected 873,576 euros in spending, most of which had been a loan from the then Front National – as the RN was called under her father, far-right firebrand Jean-Marie Le Pen. She did not appeal.

That investigation, opened in 2016, aimed to ascertain whether the then National Front had used money destined for EU parliamentary assistants to pay staff who were working for the party.

(with newswires)

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