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French investigate justice minister's party spending

Associated Press logo Associated Press 9/06/2017

PARIS — French prosecutors are investigating alleged misuse of European Parliament funds by a centrist party run by President Emmanuel Macron's new justice minister.

The investigation announced Friday is a new embarrassment for Macron and Justice Minister Francois Bayrou, who is preparing to present a draft law next week on cleaning up ethics in politics.

The Paris prosecutor's office said in a statement that it opened a preliminary investigation into allegations that members of Bayrou's Modem party used European Parliament funds to pay staffers for party activity instead of parliamentary work. Modem denies wrongdoing.

Several other French politicians are under investigation for allegedly using European Parliament funds to pay aides for party work, including far-right leader Marine Le Pen and another member of Macron's government.

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