Front National lånte i september 9 mill. euro av en bank med bånd til Kreml. Selv sier partiet det var for å låne penger til valgkampen og ingen andre banker ville gi dem lån.
The loan, by the First Czech Russian Bank (FCRB), was granted in late September, according to a report out on Saturday (22 November) in Mediapart, an online investigative journal.
It notes the FCRB is de facto owned by Roman Popov, a financier with close ties to the Russian political establishment.
Wallerand de Saint-Just, the FN’s treasurer, told Mediapart the loan was organised by Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, an FN euro-deputy.
“We’d been looking for a loan for a long time, notably to finance our election campaigns. Our bank, like many other French and European banks, categorically refused to lend a single centime to the FN or to FN candidates”, he said.
“So Mr Schaffhauser … who has had good relations in Russia for a long time, said: ‘Let me go and see this bank’.”
De Saint-Just denied the FCRB loan amounts to foreign interference in French politics, saying he has never met Popov and has only had contact with the bank’s “technical» staff.
Marine Le Pen, the FN chief and also an MEP, told French daily Le Monde that her party tried to get loans from Asian, Italian Spanish, and US banks as well as from the Russian lender.
“The first one we managed to get, we signed, and we’re very happy … what’s scandalous is that French banks aren’t lending”, she said.