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Russian bank lends Front National €9m

Far-right party needs up to €40 million for its 2017 presidential campaign and European banks refused to get involved

FRANCE'S far-right Front National party has borrowed €9 million from a Russian bank to help fund its campaigning, after French banks refused to get involved.

The party's treasurer, Wallerand de Saint-Just, has confirmed that the FN had no other option, and was put in touch with First Czech Russian bank by one of the party's MEPs, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser.

The treasurer said in a statement: "We've been looking for loans for a long time, mostly to fund our electoral campaigns. Our bank, and most other French and European banks, categorically refuse to lend a cent to the FN or its candidates."

The far-right party estimates that it needs between €30 and €40 million to fund its 2017 presidential election campaign.

The fund-raising drive was first revealed by the investigative site Mediapart, which claims that the FN is involved in "intense lobbying" in Moscow.

Marine Le Pen travelled to Russia in February for a meeting with president Vladimir Putin. She also met the nationalist MP Alexander Mikhailovich Babakov - one of the names appearing on the EU's sanctions list against Russia.

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