Where you give and where you crack | Run out of Moscow’s money,

Marine Le Pen, visiting Vladimir Putin, on March 24, 2017. Photo source: Kremlin.ru.

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The French far-right party National Assembly (Rassemblement National) – the former National Front – now led by Marine Le Pen, on Thursday sent a call for public donations to its sympathizers, in search of an amount of 3 million euros which represents the emergency debts on which the party has at the moment, announces the daily newspaper Le Parisien, quoted by Euractiv.com.

In total, the party’s debts amount to approximately 23 million euros.

The party led by Marine Le Pen will relaunch its so-called “great national debt initiative” in October in the hope of getting rid of debts, according to the quoted French newspaper.

After winning 89 seats in the Paris legislature (French National Assembly), the party was promised that its funding would increase, up to between 5 and 10 million euros.

Even so, the party’s debt problems will not be resolved, as public funds owed to the National Assembly will not be paid until May next year at the earliest, instead of February as originally scheduled. The delay is largely due to the refusal of French banks to grant a loan to the party.

Anyway, even public funds will not be able to cover the huge debts accumulated by the party, which will continue to be affected by financial problems, and these will be likely to massively influence the results of the election of the future president of the party, at the congress scheduled for November 5.

Jordan Bardella, current MEP in the “Identity and Democracy” group in the European Parliament, is interim president of the party, being also the most likely successor of Marina Le Pen in the position of full president of the party.

Russia, massive financier of “friendly” European parties

According to an estimate by American intelligence services, published by Agence France-Presse, Russia has sent, after 2014, in the greatest discretion, a total amount of at least 300 million dollars to political parties and candidates in more than 20 countries , in order to exert its influence on the internal politics of those countries.

The United States “believes that these are minimum estimates and that Russia has likely and secretly transferred more funds that have not been detected,” a senior US official said, without specifying the countries in question.

The presence of Marine Le Pen’s party on the list of Russian sponsors is no longer a secret, although the Americans’ documents do not name either the parties or the countries from which they come.

In November 2014, when the party was still called the “National Front”, Marine Le Pen confirmed that her party had received a loan of 9 million euros from a Russian bank (First Czech Russian Bank) to the National Front.

Senior officials from the party’s political bureau confirmed at the time that the amount was a first installment of a 40 million euro loan contracted with the bank, but Marine Le Pen contested their claims.

The Independent wrote that the operation represents “an attempt by Moscow to take to another level the influence that Russia exercises in the internal politics of the EU.”

Marine Le Pen claimed that it was not a donation from the Russian government, but a loan from a private Russian bank, as no other bank would have given her a loan, as a form of political boycott of the French banking system being “hand in hand with the government”. This loan was meant to finance future election campaigns and be repaid progressively, she said.

In April 2015, a group of Russian hackers published intercepted texts and emails between Timur Prokopenko, a member of Vladimir Putin’s administration, and Konstantin Rykov, a former Duma deputy with close ties to France, discussing financial support for The National Front in exchange for its support for Russia regarding the annexation of Crimea, as Le Monde wrote.