France's far-right National Front party has been handed preliminary charges in an investigation into funding of the party's 2012 legislative campaign.

The Paris prosecutor's office said the party itself was placed under investigation on Wednesday for complicity in fraud and receiving misappropriated funds. It is not uncommon in France to treat an entity as a person. Two other entities have been handed preliminary charges in the months-long probe.

Six people also are being investigated, but the probe hasn't involved leader Marine Le Pen who has her eye on France's 2017 presidential race.

The investigation centers on an alleged overbilling scheme by communications firm Riwal, run by an old friend of Le Pen who once led an extreme-right group, with the state paying out the extra funds as campaign reimbursements.