French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s team blasted a “massive and coordinated hacking attack” against his campaign after a flood of internal documents were released online late Friday, barely 24 hours before the election.
The centrist candidate’s furious staff said the release of thousands of emails, accounting documents and other files was an attempt at “democratic destabilization, like that seen during the last presidential campaign in the United States”.
The documents spread on social media just before midnight on Friday — when 39-year-old Macron and his far-right rival Marine Le Pen officially wrapped up campaigning for Sunday’s election — with his aides calling the leak “unprecedented in a French electoral campaign”.
Hillary Clinton has alleged Russian hacking of her campaign’s emails was partly to blame for her defeat in last year’s US presidential election to Donald Trump.
The leak, posted by someone calling themselves EMLEAKS, came as an 11th-hour twist in what has proved to be one of the most drama-packed elections in French history.
Macron’s team said the files were stolen weeks ago when several officials from his En Marche party had their personal and work emails hacked — one of “an intense and repeated” series of cyber-attacks against Macron since the launch of the campaign.
“Clearly, the documents arising from the hacking are all lawful and show the normal functioning of a presidential campaign,” aides said in a statement.
The WikiLeaks website posted a link on Twitter to the trove of documents, saying it was not responsible for the leak but that it was “examining” parts of the cache, amounting to around 9 gigabytes of data in total.