friday, 5 may of 2017

French election: Macron takes action over offshore claims

The frontrunner in the race for the French presidency, Emmanuel Macron, has filed a lawsuit over online rumours that he has a secret bank account in the Caribbean.

Prosecutors in Paris have opened an investigation following his complaint.

The news came after the centrist, pro-EU candidate was regarded as having come out on top in the final TV debate ahead of Sunday's run-off vote.

His far-right adversary, Marine Le Pen, referred to the claims in the debate.
He replied: "That is defamation."

On Thursday, an aide to Mr Macron told AFP news agency: "We will not hesitate to prosecute for defamation anyone who repeats this false information."

The prosecutors' investigation sends a clear message that anyone repeating the allegation can expect to be taken to court, the BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris says.

The allegations about a secret bank account spread online on right-wing websites and on social media.

Speaking on French radio on Thursday, Mr Macron called the allegations "fake news and lies" and said some of the sites spreading them were "linked to Russian interests".

His supporters say some of the sites have supported US President Donald Trump.

Mr Macron's team has published a blow-by-blow account purporting to show how the allegations were spread online just two hours before the debate in an attempt to damage their candidate.

They say this included the production of fake documents to give the appearance of tax evasion and a clumsy forgery of his signature.

In other developments on Thursday:

  • Former US President Barack Obama endorsed Mr Macron in a video message, praising his "liberal values" and saying he "appeals to people's hopes and not their fears"
  • Protesters shouting "out with fascists" threw eggs at Ms Le Pen while she was on the campaign trail in Brittany; bodyguards covered her head and moved her away
  • Ms Le Pen's estranged father Jean-Marie, a co-founder of her National Front (FN) party who she removed in 2015, said he thought she "perhaps did not rise to the occasion" in the TV debate

How she brought the claims up and how he replied

Le Pen: "I hope we won't find out that you have an offshore account in the Bahamas. I hope so..."

Macron: "No, Madame Le Pen, because that's defamation."

Le Pen: "No, no, I said 'I hope'."

Macron: "But what about you? We all know about your undervalued assets and we all know that you're currently under legal action - that's not my situation, that's yours."

He was referring to alleged fraudulent payments from the European Parliament to the FN's party staff. The FN denies allegations that it took payments for staff who were not really working for MEPs, and Ms Le Pen says she is the victim of a politically-motivated vendetta.

(Published by BBC - May 4, 2017)

latest top stories

subscribe |  contact us |  sponsors |  migalhas in portuguese |  migalhas latinoamérica