Former French presidential candidate raided by anti-corruption police

Jean-Luc Melenchon, a former French presidential candidate and leader of La France Insoumise party, has been raided by anti-corruption police over allegations over the misuse of European Parliament funds to pay party employees.

It is alleged that Mr Melenchon used members of staff, paid for by the European Parliament, to work for the party’s national campaign office – which is forbidden under the funding rules.

France’s anti-corruption office (OCLCIFF) is also investigating the party for alleged irregularities in the finances of Mr Melenchon’s failed presidential bid last year.

Police raided Mr Melenchon’s private residence and the party’s headquarters, as well as the houses of the party’s secretary-general and former members of staff.

Responding to the raids, Mr Melenchon said in a video posted to his Facebook page that he believed the raids were “a politically-motivated act” and “an act of political aggression.”

Mr Melenchon raged that French President Emmanuel Macron’s government “has been born in shame, in the shame of raiding the premises of one of the main opposition parties.”

“When you search through my computer, you know very well that you are doing something dishonest, rotten and twisted,” he added.

Hundreds of supporters gathered outside the party’s headquarters chanting “Resistance!” according to France 24.

Last week, a source inside the right-wing National Rally (Formerly Front National) party told the Reuters news agency that an investigation had been launched into its leader Marine Le Pen, also a former presidential candidate, over allegations of embezzlement.

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