11th-Hour Twist in French Election: Faked Documents

Forgeries purportedly show Macron was involved with Caribbean bank
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 5, 2017 1:05 AM CDT
Allegations of Hacking, Fake News Shake French Election
Emmanuel Macron, right, visits the VOA glassmaking company during a campaign trip in Albi, southwestern France, on Thursday.   (Eric Feferberg)

Allegations of fake news and hacking attempts dominated France's tense presidential campaign Thursday, with just two days left for independent Emmanuel Macron and his far-right rival Marine Le Pen to win over voters before Sunday's high-stakes runoff. Macron's campaign filed suit against unknown source "X'' after Le Pen suggested during their only one-on-one debate Wednesday night that the former banker could have an offshore account. "I hope we won't find out you have an offshore account in the Bahamas," Le Pen said. She appeared to be referring to two sets of apparent forgeries that purported to show Macron was somehow involved with a Caribbean bank and a firm based on the island of Nevis, per the AP.

Macron's camp said the former investment banker was the victim of a "cyber-misinformation campaign." Speaking on France Inter radio, Macron blamed Le Pen for spreading "fake news" and said he never held a bank account "in any tax haven whatsoever." There are hints tying the faked documents, published just hours before the televised showdown, to far-right circles in California. In a subsequent twist, Le Pen's campaign said a far-left hacker was arrested this week and confessed to repeatedly targeting its website. In a statement Thursday, the campaign gave few details about the seriousness of the interference. Police referred questions to prosecutors, who wouldn't comment. (More French elections stories.)

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