How times have changed. These days parties that are strapped for cash but are happy to include praise of the Putin regime among their activities have to borrow the money and not directly but from a bank.
The far-right French party, Front National (FN), borrowed €9 million from a Russian bank, posing questions over its relationship with the Kremlin.I cannot believe that the Front National's treasurer can be quite so naïve. He can, of course, think that he will be able to outwit the people he is playing with, that is the Russian political establishment and its running dogs (to quote an old phrase) but I am not sure I would be putting any money on him against Mr Popov.
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.
More on the story by France24 here.