Paris prosecutor opens probe into Le Pen's 2022 campaign financing

Second round of France's 2022 presidential election

PARIS (Reuters) -The Paris prosecutor's office said on Tuesday it had launched a preliminary probe into allegations of illegal financing of far right National Rally (RN) leader Marine Le Pen's campaign for the 2022 presidential race, which she lost to Emmanuel Macron.

The investigation, which was opened on July 2, follows a 2023 report by the National Commission on Campaign Accounts and Political Financing (CNCCFP), which scrutinizes candidates' election expenses and funding, the prosecutor's office said.

It will look into allegations of embezzlement, forgery, fraud, and that a candidate on an electoral campaign accepted a loan.

Le Pen and her party have previously denied wrongdoing in connection with campaign financing. The National Rally could not be immediately reached for comment.

Separately Le Pen is to stand trial later this year alongside 27 others over alleged misuse of European Union funds, charges that Le Pen's party has said it contested.

That investigation, opened in 2016, aimed to ascertain whether the then National Front had used money destined for EU parliamentary assistants to pay staff who were working for the party.

At the head of RN until 2021, Marine Le Pen ran against Emmanuel Macron in the 2017 and 2022 presidential elections, and could again run in 2027.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummmel, Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)