Friday 15 December 2017

Macron rubbishes 'fake news' claims of offshore account

Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Reuters
Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Reuters

Leigh Thomas Paris

French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said yesterday he did not have offshore accounts or a hidden inheritance, less than a week from the first round of voting in an election marked by allegations of impropriety.

Polls see Mr Macron running neck-and-neck with far right leader Marine Le Pen in the first round of voting on Sunday although conservative François Fillon and hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon have been catching up.

Mr Macron, a centrist former economy minister, has consistently swatted aside suggestions that he had something to hide while Mr Fillon and Ms Le Pen have fought allegations of misusing public funds. French anti-corruption campaigning group Anticor flagged concerns last month about discrepancies in Mr Macron's disclosure of assets, but the public transparency watchdog said in response it had found no inconsistencies.

Mr Macron said that unnamed political rivals would try to spread false news about him this week that suggested that he had money stashed in offshore accounts, which he flatly denied.

"I've always paid all my tax in France and I've always had all my accounts in France," Mr Macron said in an interview with BFM TV.

Asked about rumours that he had inherited a large sum of money from a wealthy businessman friend who died in November, Mr Macron answered: "It's false, totally false. I've heard it all, that I have a hidden inheritance, that I've got offshore accounts. All sorts of things. Why? Because in this campaign there are two candidates with their own real legal problems."

Mr Fillon is under investigation over allegations he paid state money to family members for work they did not really do while Ms Le Pen is being probed for alleged misuse of EU funds. Both deny any wrongdoing.

A daily Opinionway poll showed yesterday that Mr Macron was tied with Ms Le Pen in the first round of voting at 22pc, with Mr Fillon at their heals on 21pc followed by Mr Mélenchon on 18pc. Mr Macron was seen beating Ms Le Pen in the May 6 runoff vote 64pc to 36pc, providing both make it to the second round.

Irish Independent

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