Author Topic: Russian Money and Far-Right Politics  (Read 27 times)

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Offline kimmy

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Russian Money and Far-Right Politics
« on: January 02, 2019, 09:50:29 pm »
Interesting read from the Washington Post about Marine Le Pen's National Front far-right party in France, and

Sometime in September 2014, the National Frontís treasurer, Wallerand de Saint Just, went to Moscow.

At the bankís headquarters, he had lunch with Popov and his colleagues and signed a contract that lent the National Front 9.4 million euros at an interest rate of 6 percent per year. The final repayment date was Sept. 23, 2019.

De Saint Just described the process as ďvery amicable.Ē

At the time, Le Pen and other politicians from her party were making pro-Russian pronouncements in public but had not disclosed the loan.

The secrecy didnít last long.

An investigative journalist at the French publication Mediapart exposed the deal 2 1/2  months after it was signed, setting off a firestorm of criticism and more reports from Mediapart and others about financial links between Russian individuals and the French far right.

Le Pen dismissed the furor, saying at the time that she had no choice but to turn abroad for a loan and denying that the money influenced her political positions. Le Penís party did not respond to a request for comment.

The loan was brokered by Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, a National Front member of the European Parliament.

Schaffhauser, for his part, said he received 140,000 euros, or about $181,000 at the time, for brokering the loan. His fee was deposited in what he described as a family foundation. He said people close to Babakov, the Russian member of parliament and special envoy, also discussed investing in his think tank.

At the same time, Schaffhauser was railing against sanctions imposed on Russia and promoting other pro-Russian positions in the European Parliament. He said he did not think that advocating for Russia while arranging a Russian loan to Le Penís party and a fee for himself presented a conflict of interest.

ďWhatís the problem? I have the right to be against this,Ē he said of the sanctions.

The problem, clearly, is that advocating for pro-Russian positions in the EU Parliament while personally enriching himself by brokering loans between his party and the Russian bank creates an appearance of conflict of interest.

The bank that originated the loan was shut down by Russian regulators, its licenses pulled, and its assets mysteriously evaporated before regulators could seize them.  The loan to Le Pen's party ended up being transferred to a Russian aerospace company that has official secrets status with the Russian government, meaning it might be beyond the reach of regulators. 

Masked for your safety.

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Offline MH

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Re: Russian Money and Far-Right Politics
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2019, 04:53:29 am »
Russia and possibly other countries are playing our freedom-of-expression thing against us.

This happens in Canada too.  Some kind of Islamic political party was formed this week, and one of the right-wing Facebook pages I follow had 500 posts on the topic overnight.  This in a forum that's as busy as this one.  Fake accounts.

I have expressed a need to clamp down on lying but people try to say that I'm trying to ban opinions I disagree with.  Does that sound like me ?