The European Union’s anti-fraud body has accused French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and other members of her party, including her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, of embezzling EU funds.
An investigation has been launched by the European Anti-Fraud Office or the Office européen de lutte antifraude (OLAF).
The board says that the fraud amounts to €620,000, and the revelations were first made by an investigative website called Mediapart, accusing Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) of misusing EU money for furthering the purposes of National Rally (Le Pen's party).
The allegations have flared up just six days before the second round of the French presidential election, scheduled to take place on 24 April, in which Le Pen will face President Emmanuel Macron in the run-off vote.
Rodolphe Bosselut, who is Le Pen's lawyer, told AFP that he was "dismayed by the way that OLAF is acting."
Additionally, he told the French channel BFMTV, "Marine Le Pen contests this. She contests it without having had access to the details of the accusation. It’s a manipulation; unfortunately, I’m not surprised," reported by The Guardian.
While Le Pen has not commented on the controversy, National Rally president Jordan Bardella told Europe 1 radio, "The French will not be fooled by attempts of the European Union and the European institutions (...) to interfere in the presidential campaign and harm Marine Le Pen," Reuters reported.
French prosecutors said on Sunday that they were examining the OLAF report concerning Le Pen and the alleged embezzlement.
(With inputs from Reuters and The Guardian.)