France: complaint to prosecutor’s office against Le Pen’s party over ties to Russia

France’s radical left-wing party (PRG) has filed a complaint with the Paris prosecutor’s office against the far-right National Rally, alleging their possible involvement in “espionage in favor of a foreign”state”—Russia.

PRG leader Guillaume Lacroix reported this in an interview with AFP on January 15.

Le Pen is guilty of “espionage in favor of a foreign state” – Lacroix

As Lacroix explained, a number of journalistic investigations suggest that the National Rally and its leaders, including Marine Le Pen, are “guilty of several crimes and offenses,” such as “espionage in favor of a foreign state,” “providing information to a foreign state,” and “corruption and breach of trust.”

His party, in particular, refers to Article 40 of the French Code of Criminal Procedure, according to which “any public authority, official, or civil servant who, in the performance of his or her duties, becomes aware of a crime or misdemeanor is obliged to notify the public prosecutor without delay.”

The PRG complaint states that since at least 2014, when the National Front political party received its first loan from an entity close to President Putin, the party and its leaders have spread Russian propaganda aimed at creating chaos in France and Europe.

The Radical Left Party added that although the authorities have repeatedly pointed out that the actions of the National Rally are directly linked to the Kremlin, these facts, which undermine both national security and the protection of democratic institutions, have not yet been prosecuted.

Marine Le Pen’s ties to Russia: investigations

In summer 2023, Ukrainian investigative media project InformNapalm wrote based on hacked emails of Putin’s henchman Alexander Babakov that this data shed light on the Kremlin’s efforts to promote its interests in France and its ties to French politicians, primarily Marine Le Pen.

According to Babakov’s correspondence, it turns out that he was responsible for organising visits by French politicians and negotiations with high-ranking Russian officials. Babakov was the key man in the talks between Le Pen’s National Front and the Kremlin on the Russian loan to the French far-right party in 2014.

This information became known in 2017 in the journalistic investigation by the French media Mediapart.fr. And now, leaked Babakov emails have added more exciting details and the hot link between Le Pen and Babakov himself.

In her letter, seen in the leaked emails, the French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is writing to Mr Babakov asking for assistance. Le Pen, as a member of the European Parliament, requests a meeting with Sergei Naryshkin – one of Putin’s closest allies, current Russian spy chief.

Marine Le Pen's letter to Babakov

Russia tries to undermine France support for Ukraine – WP

Also in December 2023, The Washington Post published an investigation into how Russia is stepping up efforts to undermine France’s military aid to Ukraine. It claims that Moscow is seeking to promote political discord in France through social media and French politicians, opinion leaders, and activists.

In this operation, the National Rally allegedly plays a major role, and more specifically, the former MEP from Le Pen’s party, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, who is working “on plans to promote pro-Moscow politicians to power.” Schaffhauser was also mentioned in the Babakov’s leaked emails.

It was Schaffhauser who helped his party obtain two loans from Russia-owned bank necessary for National Rally survival. This includes the so-called Russian loan of 9 million euros, which the National Rally paid back only in September 2023.

Le Pen’s party criticized the Washington Post’s investigation.

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