April 17, 2017 / 1:08 PM / a year ago

France's Macron denies suggestions of impropriety

PARIS (Reuters) - French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said on Monday 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.

Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, delivers a speech during a visit at the INRIA in Montbonnot-Saint-Martin, near Grenoble, France, April 14, 2017. REUTERS/Robert Pratta

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

Macron, a centrist former economy minister, has consistently swatted aside suggestions that he had something to hide while Fillon and Le Pen have fought allegations of misusing public funds.

French anti-corruption campaigners Anticor flagged concerns last month about discrepancies in Macron’s disclosure of assets, but the public transparency watchdog said in response it had found no inconsistencies.

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 may accounts in France,” Macron said in an interview with BFM TV.

Asked about rumors that Macron had inherited a large sum of money from a wealthy businessman friend who died in November, 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,” Macron said.

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

A daily Opinionway poll showed on Monday that Macron was tied with Le Pen in the first round of voting at 22 percent, with Fillon at their heals on 21 percent followed by Melenchon on 18 percent.

Macron was seen beating Le Pen in the May 6 runoff vote 64 percent to 36, providing both make it to the decisive second round.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Alison Williams

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