Macron's campaign team says it suffers "massive, coordinated hacking attack"

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.

France's election campaign commission said Saturday "a significant amount of data" has been leaked on social networks following a hacking attack on centrist Emmanuel Macron's presidential campaign.

He has led a remarkable campaign, defying the traditional mainstream parties courtesy of his En Marche! movement.

Emmanuel Macron's centrist campaign has said it was the victim of a "massive and co-ordinated" hacking attack, as France prepares to choose its next president on Sunday.

"Intervening in the last hour of the official campaign, this operation is obviously a democratic destabilization, as has already been seen in the United States during the last presidential campaign", Macron's campaign said.

The emails were released just minutes before the start of France's campaign blackout, which forbids candidates from speaking publicly until voting is complete. Hillary Clinton's USA presidential campaign suffered similar leaks, and also said that authentic documents were mixed with false documents.

The Macron campaign said Friday that it had been targeted by "intense and repeated" online attacks throughout the campaign. At the time, spokesperson Laurence Haim said the campaign was the target of a "sophisticated" phishing attack, and the attack was "absolutely not successful". "It is not a simple piracy operation but an attempt to destabilize the French presidential election".

Ben Nimmo, a UK-based security researcher, said initial analysis suggested that online activists affiliated with American far-right groups had been behind early efforts to spread the leaked Macron emails on social media.

The French presidential election commission said in statement that it would hold a meeting later on Saturday after Macron's campaign informed it about the hack and publishing of the data.

The files were posted anonymously on a sharing website and the person responsible for the posting remains unclear. However, it was not instantly clear who was behind the action or if any of the data was genuine.

He said he was unable to say whether it was an attempt at destabilising the election, as alleged by Macron's team.

Florian Philippot, the No. 2 in Le Pen's anti-immigrant National Front party, asked in a tweet: "Will the #Macronleaks teach us something that investigative journalism deliberately buried?" Kremlin dismissed the allegations and denied any involvement.

The candidates stopped campaigning at midnight Friday to give voters a day of reflection before the election.

Another political campaign has been hit by an email dump.

The hacking appears to be another parallel to the 2016 US presidential election - something the Macron campaign alluded to in its statement regarding hacking.

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