Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French far-right National Front (FN) party, said on Monday that she had not received money either from Moscow or from Russia’s financial institutions to finance her presidential campaign.
On Friday, the French politician visited Moscow and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Commenting on the visit, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the politicians had not discussed the issue of Le Pen’s campaign funding. Later in the day, FN Vice-President Florian Philippot said that the organizers of Le Pen’s presidential campaign would not be supported by Russia’s banks.
“No,” Le Pen told the Europe 1 broadcaster, answering a question on whether or not Russia or the country’s banks had financed or would support the politician’s campaign.
Le Pen added that French banks had also refused to work with her and to provide a loan to finance the campaign.
“They [French banks] have given loans to every presidential candidate except me,” the FN leader noted.
In January, French media reported, citing FN officials, that the party was seeking loans from banks abroad due to the difficulties to get loans from the French financial institutions.
In 2014, reports in the French media emerged, claiming that the FN received a $9.7-million loan in the First Czech Russian Bank. In June 2015, Le Pen said the FN party had taken a loan from a Russian bank and opposed claims from a European Parliament member that her party allegedly received funds from the Russian government.
During last week’s meeting with Le Pen, Putin said that Russia valued relations with France and did not want to influence the upcoming presidential elections there.
The first round of the French presidential election is scheduled for April 23, while the run-off between the top two contenders will take place on May 7.