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Who is Marine Le Pen?

Who is Marine Le Pen?

France's National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who is also an MEP and a frontrunner in the French presidential election in April-May, has defied a deadline set by European Union authorities for her to repay funds they claim she has misspent.

For most of her life, Marine Le Pen has lived and worked in the shadow of her father.

"I think that most of the reactions are in bad faith", Le Pen, who is expected to be a frontrunner in France's presidential elections in April and May, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

The parliament says she wrongly used the funds to pay an aide at the National Front's headquarters in Paris.

The far-right presidential candidate had until the end of Tuesday to repay the money, but refused to do so, claiming she was the victim of a politically motivated vendetta. She was asked to repay nearly €300,000 by January 31, for salaries paid to Catherine Griset, who worked as a parliamentary assistant from December 2010 to February 2016, and another €41,554 by February 28 for salaries paid to her bodyguard.

It also comes amid a growing scandal surrounding conservative presidential nominee François Fillon and his wife Penelope.

Emmanuelle Riva, Oscar-nominated Amour actress, dead at 89
She was nominated at the age of 86 for best leading actress in the movie " Amour " which won best foreign film in 2013. She worked until last summer, when she filmed the movie Alma and also performed on stage in Rome.

The European Anti-Fraud Office said past year that Le Pen's assistant's contract stipulated that her workplace was at the EP's headquarters in Brussels, and that she was unable to prove that "she continually resided in Belgium" nor that she was "regularly present at her place of work", France24 reports.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble said that he hopes that Ms. Le Pen never becomes President.

The parliamentary source in Brussels, who asked not to be named, said the aim was not to punish Le Pen but to recover the funds involved.

Front National has grown rapidly since Mr Le Pen was expelled from the party in 2015 and is now considered one of the largest political forces in France.

An EU official said failure to pay could lead to her monthly EU parliamentary salary being halved to about €3,000 euros from February, and she could also lose other allowances.


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