Presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s campaign said Friday it was the victim of an anonymous massive hack as thousands of emails and electronic documents, mixed with false ones, were released online ahead of a run-off vote Sunday.
The front-runner’s campaign, En Marche!, or On the Move, said in a statement the documents “were obtained a few weeks ago after personal and professional emails of several leaders of the movement” were hacked.
“The En Marche! Movement has been the victim of a massive and co-ordinated hack this evening which has given rise to the diffusion on social media of various internal information,” it said.
“Those who circulate the files add authentic documents to false ones in order to spread doubt and disinformation,” according to the statement that drew a parallel with the U.S. presidential campaign held in November.
The release came “in the last hours of the official campaign” and is “clearly a matter of democratic destabilization, like that seen during the last presidential campaign in the United States,” it said.
It was an apparent reference to a letter the head of the FBI sent to the U.S. Congress just days before the election that said the bureau had reopened an investigation into whether Hillary Clinton mishandled classified emails while she was Secretary of State.
Clinton blamed that disclosure, in part, for her loss to Donald Trump.
The French documents were published late Friday just hours before the beginning of an official ban on campaigning that lasts until polls close at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) Sunday.
Macron’s campaign has been the victim of fake news and several cyber attacks since he announced his presidential bid.
He garnered 24 percent of the vote April 23 during the first round of balloting as he beat his nearest rival, National Front’s Marine Le Pen, who won 21 percent.
Polls show the far-right Le Pen losing Sunday to Macron, who is a former economy minister.
The new president will be formally confirmed by mid-May.
The presidential vote will be followed by two-rounds of legislative elections in June.