French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has obtained a loan of 10.6 million euros from a Hungarian bank to finance her presidential election campaign, according to RTL radio on Wednesday. It comes after the National Rally presidential candidate said she was struggling to get bank loans back home.
Le Pen’s party has a reputation for seeking dodgy funding.
During the 2014 municipal elections, Le Pen’s party appealed to the first Czech-Russian bank in Russia to finance its campaign to the tune of 9 million euros. A few years later, the bank closed.
At the time, the news raised concerns that Le Pen, who claimed to be an admirer of President Vladimir Putin, had promised a softer line on Russia over Ukraine, urging the West to back off. economic sanctions against Moscow.
At the beginning of the week, the interim president of her party, the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, mentioned the existence of a loan granted by “a European bank” to AFPnow revealed to be a Hungarian bank, whose name is withheld from party officials due to a “non-disclosure clause”.
The name of the bank will not be disclosed out of respect for a “confidentiality clause”, and the party should not comment further on this information, according to RTL.
In October 2021, Marine Le Pen had made a trip to Budapest a few weeks after Éric Zemmour.
The sum of 10.6 million euros is a significant boost for Le Pen, who had been forced into a low-key election campaign due to the party’s limited finances and the reluctance of French banks to lend him money. .
In France, election campaigns can be financed by contributions and donations from individuals up to a limit of €4,600 per donor and per election, making loans an essential source of financing.
After the election, a flat-rate expense reimbursement system allows candidates and parties to recover some of the money spent on the campaign.
Candidates who reach the second round – and Le Pen currently seems set to do so – are reimbursed 47.5% of the spending limit set by decree. In 2017, this amount was 10.7 million euros.
In 2017, forced to finance herself with the micro-party of her father and French financier, Le Pen complained of a “banking fatwa”.
In 2021, she alerted President Macron to the difficulty for certain candidates – among them also Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Éric Zemmour – to access bank loans.
(Davide Basso | EURACTIV.fr)