Le Pen’s National Rally Loses Bid to Overturn Graft Conviction

(Bloomberg) -- France’s far right National Rally lost a last-ditch effort to overturn a conviction for using embezzled funds during elections more than a decade ago, just as it tries to convince voters to hand it a parliamentary majority at a snap poll.

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France’s top court rejected the party’s appeal on Wednesday and confirmed a prior ruling that the party was guilty of fraud and fined it €250,000 ($268,600). The conviction is now final.

The ruling comes as the party — led by Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella — heads the polls for fresh parliamentary elections after President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the National Assembly and called for a new vote. The two-round election in France will conclude on July 7. The Rassemblement National has been seeking to show it has what it takes to govern France.

The old criminal case centered on accusations that the party — then called National Front — was involved in inflating the bills of candidates it fielded in the 2012 legislative elections to then seek undue reimbursements from the French state. Several people linked to the National Rally, including its onetime treasurer, were also convicted in the case.

The National Rally didn’t immediately return a request for comment on the decision from the Cour de Cassation.

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