European Union court rules Marine Le Pen must repay $350,000 in - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

European Union court rules Marine Le Pen must repay $350,000 in misspent funds

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In this file photo taken on January 21, 2017 French National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen gives a press conference during the European Parliament's Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) congress in Koblenz, western Germany. 
A top EU court on June 19, 20 In this file photo taken on January 21, 2017 French National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen gives a press conference during the European Parliament's Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) congress in Koblenz, western Germany. A top EU court on June 19, 20

The European Union's General Court on Tuesday upheld a European Parliament decision to recover almost $347,000 from French far-right politician Marine Le Pen for misspent EU funds.

Following an investigation by the EU's Anti-Fraud Office, the European Parliament complained that Le Pen, who was a member of the European Parliament between 2009 and 2017, had unduly claimed the money for a parliamentary assistant.

Le Pen is the leader of France's far-right National Rally party, until recently known as the National Front.

A statement from the General Court said it "confirms the decision of the European Parliament" to recover the money from Marine Le Pen on the grounds she "has not been able to prove that her assistant performed actual work for her."

Le Pen told French news agency AFP that she would take the case to the Court of Justice, the EU's highest court.

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"This ruling is based not on the substance of the case but on a procedural aspect. We are going to appeal against this decision," she told AFP.

Le Pen is not the first politician to face allegations of misusing EU funds. In 2017, eight MEPs from Britain's far-right UKIP party were accused of misusing funds.

In January 2018, Nigel Farage was docked half of his pay for 10 months after auditors found he misspent EU money when an assistant who was engaged to work with the MEP was found to have also been working with the anti-EU UKIP party as national nominating officer, with his salary coming from the EU funds.

In June 2017, then French Defense Minister Sylvie Goulard resigned from government after a preliminary investigation was launched into claims her Democratic Movement party had misused EU funds.

This article originally appeared on DW.com. Its content was created separately to USA TODAY.

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