The embattled French Front National leader Marine Le Pen announced plans to take the European Parliament to the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) in the assistants’ case.

Marine Le Pen refuses to return the sums linked to the dubious employment of a parliamentary assistant.

The European Parliament is relying upon an investigation by OLAF, the EU anti-fraud organisation. It considers that the salary paid to Catherine Griset, hired as a parliamentary assistant for Marine Le Pen, in her MEP capacity, between 2010 and 2016, was not justified. Griset may in fact have worked solely for the National Front in France.

The European Parliament is demanding €298,400 from the MEP. Ms Le Pen has refused to repay this amount to date. As a consequence, the parliament took the decision to retain part of her MEP salary from February.

Today, the outgoing French President Francois Hollande said in a series of European newspaper interviews that his “ultimate duty” was to prevent a victory of far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen in this year’s election.

“My ultimate duty is to make sure that France is not won over by such a program, and that France does not bear such a heavy responsibility,” said Hollande of the risk of a Le Pen victory in the election.

He added it was inevitable that the European Union would have countries progressing at “different speeds” and that he saw no reason to call into question Donald Tusk’s role as president of the European Council.

He also said the “euphoria” of financial markets after the election of U.S President Donald Trump appeared to be “very premature”.

The interview was published in Le Monde, La Stampa, The Guardian, La Vanguardia, Suddeutsche Zeitung and Gazeta Wyborcza.

French presidential elections are planned for 23 April and 07 May 2017.