As bitter French campaign ends, Macron’s team hit by hack

PARIS (AP) — The campaign of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron said it suffered a “massive and coordinated” hacking attack and document leak that it called a bid to destabilize Sunday’s presidential runoff.

His far-right rival Marine Le Pen, meanwhile, told The Associated Press that she believes she can pull off a surprise victory in the high-stakes vote that could change Europe’s direction.

Fears of hacking, fake news manipulation and Russian meddling clouded the French campaign but had largely gone unrealized — until late Friday’s admission by Macron’s campaign that it had suffered a coordinated online pirate attack that led to the leak of campaign emails and financial documents. It was unclear who was behind the hack and the leak.

A campaign blackout starting minutes after the Macron team announcement means that Le Pen’s campaign can’t legally comment on the leak.

In a statement, Macron’s En Marche movement said the hack took place a few weeks ago, and that the leaked documents have been mixed with false documents to “seed doubt and disinformation” and destabilize Sunday’s presidential runoff. Hillary Clinton’s U.S. presidential campaign suffered similar leaks, and also said that authentic documents were mixed with false documents.

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