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The New Arab

Hackers target French progressive presidential candidate before crucial election

Macron has a huge lead over his far-right rival [AFP]

Date of publication: 6 May, 2017

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Wikileaks have released a trove of hacked emails and documents which it says likely belong to French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron who has just ended his election campaign.

Hackers have targeted French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron's with data sharing site Wikileaks releasing the documents days before the crucial election, his team said on Friday evening.

Macron's team said he was subject to a "massive and coordinated hacking attack" with internal documents including emails and accounting papers released online.

"The files circulating were obtained several weeks ago due to the hacking of the personal and professional mailboxes of several party officials," Macron's En Marche! (On The Move) party said in a statement.

The release came just as campaigning for the final round of the presidential election comes to an end ahead of voting on Sunday.

Macron has been way ahead of far-right rival Marine Le Pen in the polls, but progressives fear that the former National Front leader could benefit from the release.

Macron's team said that some of the documents were fake to spread confusion but others were authentic but "lawful".

The WikiLeaks website posted a link to the documents on its Twitter page insisting they were not responsible for the leak but say they are most likely authentic.

The trove "contains many tens of thousands emails, photos, attachments up to April 24, 2017" it said.

WikiLeaks said there were around nine gigabytes of data in total, saying it was "checking parts" of the cache.

"This massive leak is too late to shift the election. The intent behind the timing is curious," it claimed, adding that Macron has a 12 point lead over his rival in opinion polls.

But the incident does mirror a hacking scandal last year involving Democrat candidate Hilary Clinton.

The release of Clinton's emails by Wikileaks during her election campaign which she eventuall lost despite previously having a massive lead over her rival.

Many believe that the leaks were key to the surprise victory of her right-wing rival President Donald Trump, who took office in January.

Allegations of Russian involvement in the leaks were made and an investigation into the relationship between Trump's team and Moscow is being carried out by the US.

Le Pen is also said to have links to President Vladimir Putin with the far-right leader taking a loan from a Russian bank for her election campaign.

Meanwhile pro-Le Pen activists have recently made unsubstantiated claims that Macron has a secret off-shore account, which his team denies.

Agencies contributed to this story.

 

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