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Feb 22, 2:30 PM EST

France: Le Pen aide charged in parliament jobs probe

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PARIS (AP) -- A top aide of French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has been handed preliminary charges in an investigation into money spent on her party's European Parliament assistants.

Paris prosecutor's office said that aide Catherine Griset was detained for questioning Wednesday, and subsequently charged with breach of trust.

Le Pen's bodyguard Thierry Legier, who was also questioned, was released without charge.

Both were employed as European Parliament assistants.

Asked about the questioning, Le Pen dismissed the probe Wednesday as "political maneuvering" ahead of France's two-round April-May presidential election.

Prompted by a European Commission investigation into the case, the Paris prosecutor's office opened a judicial inquiry on potential charges including fraud, abuse of trust and organized criminal activity. Investigators are also looking at other National Front members' use of parliamentary aides.

Investigators suspect that members of Le Pen's National Front used legislative aides for the party's political activity while they were on the European Parliament's payroll. The party denies wrongdoing.

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