“French Far Right Gets Helping Hand With Russian Loan”
The New York Times, December 2, 2014, p.A8
“France’s far-right National Front party has taken an $11.7 million loan from a Russian bank to help finance various campaigns — money, officials said, party representatives were unable to obtain from any French or European bank, though they spoke to a dozen. In the meantime, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder and retired leader of the party, has also taken a separate $2.5 million loan from a holding company belonging to a former K.G.B. agent, according to a published report. Officials of the party said the $11.7 million loan would be used to help the National Front’s coming local and regional election efforts as well as a run for the French presidency by the party leader, Marine Le Pen. That campaign appears already underway, though the vote is still more than two years away. … The money appears to be yet another sign of growing closeness between Europe’s far-right parties and Russia. Ms. Le Pen has been steadfast in her admiration of Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, even as France’s and indeed most of Europe’s relations with Russia have frayed over events in Ukraine. She has proposed breaking France’s relationship with NATO’s command in favor of a new alliance that would include Russia. … The National Front has always had a hard time raising money. In the past, it has ended campaigns millions in debt, once even having to sell a headquarters to close its books.”
Quickie Analysis: Follow the money.