French far-right leader Marine Le Pen must pay back almost EUR298,000, or USD318,000, of misused funds to the European Parliament by Tuesday, an EU parliamentary source confirmed on Monday.
The EU parliament is seeking the repayment, which officials stress is not a fine, after an investigation by the EU’s anti-fraud office found that aides for Le Pen’s National Front party had been illegally paid from EU funds for working for the party in France.
A further payment of EUR42,000 euros, or USD45,000, is due until February 28, the source said confirming French media reports.
If Le Pen fails to make the payments, the parliament could withhold the salary she receives as an EU lawmaker.
Le Pen, who is running in this year’s French presidential elections, criticized the demand for repayment.
“I expressly protest against this process, which is being conducted by our political opponents in the European Parliament,” she told French TV station TF1 over the weekend.
Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, had also run into similar issues with the EU parliament. He was asked to repay EUR320,000, or USD340,000, to the EU parliament for unlawfully using EU funds to pay aides. After he refused, the parliament withheld part of his salary for 2016.