PARIS — Leading French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has been the victim of a “massive and coordinated hacking operation,” after files purporting to be from the campaign were posted online via social media, his campaign said Friday.
Campaign officials said the perpetrators of the hack had mixed fake documents with authentic ones “in order to create confusion and misinformation.”
The statement said that by happening near the end of the campaign, the operation is clearly meant to undermine democracy, just like during the recent presidential campaign in the United States.
U.S. intelligence officials have said the Russians meddled in the November elections, and Congress is investigating the allegations. Russia has denied any interference.
Macron, if successful in Sunday’s final vote, would become the youngest president in the history of France and the nation’s youngest leader since Napoleon.
His political organization, En Marche!, called the attack the latest in a series of cyber intrusions.
“The files that are circulated were obtained several weeks ago following the hacking of personal and professional mail boxes,” En Marche! said.
The 39-year-old independent centrist has led a remarkable campaign, defying the traditional mainstream parties courtesy of his En Marche! movement.
For many, however, the campaign has become less about backing Macron, and instead voting against his far-right National Front rival, Marine Le Pen.
Macron has been endorsed by President Francois Hollande, Republican candidate Francois Fillon and the Socialist Party’s Benoit Hamon, but he is not universally liked.
Often seen as the “elite,” Macron’s viewed as being part of the establishment and out of touch with the public.
A former economy minister who made his millions as an investment banker, Macron has been attacked from both the left and the right for his perceived arrogance.
Two polls released Friday suggest he still holds a 20-point lead.