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French prosecutor's office searched for explosives after bomb threat

Authorities have allowed employees to return to the headquarters of France's financial prosecution team. The office is currently undertaking investigations into French presidential candidates Fillon, le Pen and Macron.

Paris police briefly ordered all employees in the national financial prosecutor's office (PNF) to leave the building after an anonymous caller phoned in a bomb threat on Monday.

Police were deployed to the building in the 9th arrondissement near the Garnier Paris opera house, where they proceeded to secure the surrounding area on the busy Rue des Italiens.

"The security forces have been ordered to search the building for explosives and it could take a large part of the day," a police source told Reuters. A bomb disposal sqad's review of the building and neighborhood revealed no trace of explosives.

According to police officials,fake bomb threats are a common occurrence in France's capital city.

The threat came at a time when Paris remains on edge after a gunman opened fire on police officers on Saturday at a traffic stop and at the city's Orly airport. In addition, a state of emergency originally implemented in the aftermath of the 2015 Paris terror attacks continues to blanket the entire nation. 

A busy public financial prosecutor

The PNF has been in the spotlight recently due to the office's ongoing investigations into possible financial offenses committed by French Presidential candidates.

Watch video 00:23

French candidate Fillon under investigation

The prosecution team recently began looking into whether the candidate for the Republicains Francois Fillon received illegal luxury gifts. This latest allegation expanded the scope of a formal investigation opened against the beleaguered conservative candidate that seeks to determine whether Fillon used public money to pay his wife and daughter for jobs they did not do.

The PNF is also investigating other front-running parties and their candidates. The national prosecutor is reviewing whether Le Pen's National Front used European Parliament funds to pay party assistants actually employed elsewhere. Independent and centrist Emmaneual Macron faces a probe into allegations of favoritism in relation to travel to the US.

With the first round of voting set for April 23, any results released by the PNF could affect the candidates' chances to make it into the top two slots - and therefore into the final runoff on May 7.

cmb/rc (Reuters, AP) 

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