Russian bank with ties to Putin loans £32m to far-right French party

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A Russian bank with links to the Kremlin has allegedly agreed to loan €40m (£32m) to France’s far-right Front National.

The FN, led by Marine Le Pen, has been on the rise in the country, picking up two seats in the Senate for the first time ever in September.

However, the party – which is allied with the British National Party – been accused of fostering homophobic violence by aligning itself with aggressive anti-equal marriage factions.

Even UKIP leader Nigel Farage has previously ruled out working with Le Pen, accusing her party of “anti-Semitism and general prejudice”.

Le Pen this week confirmed her party has received a €9m loan from the Russian-owned First Czech-Russian Bank, which has strong ties to Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

However, a party insiders told Mediapart that the sum is actually much bigger, saying: “A first instalment has been agreed of a €40m loan.

“The €9m has arrived. Another €31m will follow.”

The significant funding will allow the party – which opposes gay rights and immigration – to launch an all-out offensive ahead of the 2017 Presidential election.

The Independent reports “unconfirmed allegations” that Moscow has also provided funding to several other far-right Eurosceptic parties, neo-Nazi Greek party Golden Dawn, and Hungary’s Jobbik party.