Le Pen’s ally Schaffhauser’s foundation received Russian money – Mediapart

The French investigative publication Mediapart has conducted an investigation into alleged Russian funding received by the far-right politicians in France, namely the representative of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally Party (former National Front), Jean-Luc Schaffhauser.

Schaffhauser’s foundation received money Russia in exchange for promoting Russia’s position – Mediapart

In the new investigation, Mediapart analysts concluded that a politician from the far-right and pro-Russian RN (formerly FN) party, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, who was a member of the European Parliament in 2014 and negotiated a loan for Le Pen’s party from a Russian bank, owns a foundation that received hundreds of thousands of euros in exchange for promoting Moscow’s position during his speeches in the European Parliament. Mediapart reports that it has obtained new emails confirming this.

The previous investigation was based on leaked emails from Alexander Babakov’s office, a Kremlin official in charge of the Kremlin’s relations with pro-Russian politicians in Europe, obtained by hacktivists from the Cyber Resistance group.

According to the new documents Mediapart obtained, payments from his Russian contacts directly influenced the pro-Russian stance of the loan negotiator, former MEP Jean-Luc Schaffhauser.

In emails exchanged in 2014 with the head of the office of Alexander Babakov, Putin’s international cooperation adviser who provided the loan, the MEP estimated that he needed “300,000 euros” to make pro-Russian speeches in the European Parliament on the situation in Ukraine (the annexation of Crimea by Russia). Meanwhile, the Jean-Luc Schaffhauser Foundation received 255,998 euros, Mediapart claimed.

This amount is in addition to the €140,000 commission he has already received for negotiating the Russian loan, making a total of almost €400,000 received by his foundation or himself. Jean-Luc Schaffhauser asserted, “I have never personally received €400,000 for the Russian loan,” while acknowledging that his foundation received the Russian funds.

Babakov leaks highlighted the Kremlin’s efforts to promote its interests in France

Mediapart’s previous investigation, in September 2023, was based on emails from the hacked account of Babakov’s assistant: “Russian loan: hacked emails show closeness between Marine Le Pen and Putin.” In the case of the Russian loan, Marine Le Pen claims that she signed an agreement “with the bank, not with Putin.” However, the newspaper wrote that emails from Russian State Duma Deputy Speaker Alexander Babakov’s mailbox show how the Russian authorities were involved.

The documents, released by Ukrainian hackers and analyzed by Mediapart, cast doubt on Marine Le Pen’s rhetoric. They show close contacts between the Russian authorities and the National Front (FN) between 2014 and 2016, as well as the central role of Putin’s adviser in this rapprochement at a time when Marine Le Pen was seeking funds from Russia to finance her election campaign, the French newspaper noted.

The Inform Napalm investigative community highlighted the first investigation into Babakov’s activities and his ties to Schaffhauser and Le Pen, based on the leaked emails: “BabakovLeaks: Putin’s henchman exchanged emails with Marine Le Pen and paid for French far-right activists to travel to Russia“.

The leak of data from the hacked emails of Putin’s henchman Alexander Babakov has highlighted the Kremlin’s efforts to promote its interests in France and its ties to French politicians, including Marine Le Pen, it wrote in September 2023.

Since 2012, Alexander Babakov has been Putin’s “special representative” in charge of relations with Russian organizations abroad, making him one of the key figures in the Kremlin’s networks of influence in Europe.

Babakov leaks shed light on Le Pen’s Russian ties

The leaked emails reveal a letter where French far-right leader Marine Le Pen requested Babakov’s assistance. As a member of the European Parliament, Ms. Le Pen asked for a meeting with Sergei Naryshkin, one of Putin’s closest allies and the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service.

Particularly, just before Le Pen’s party received the now-famous Russian loan of 9 million euros from a Russian bank, Babakov received a letter from Le Pen’s work email on the European Parliament’s letterhead, requesting a meeting with Naryshkin.


Sergei Naryshkin has been Russia’s Director of Foreign Intelligence since 2016. Previously, he was Chairman of the State Duma (2011–2016) and Chief of Staff at the Kremlin. He was also chairman of the Commission for Historical Truth (a propaganda institution responsible for distorting history in books to please the regime).

Naryshkin studied at Moscow’s KGB Higher School for two years in the French section. He was sanctioned by the US and UK in 2014 following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and the Russian-Ukrainian war. Apparently, Marine Le Pen had some topics to discuss with him.

Alexander Babakov arranged a meeting for Le Pen with senior Kremlin officials and Putin. He also sent Marine Le Pen an official invitation letter, which was also included in the Babakov leaks.

As reported by Mediapart, Marine Le Pen met Babakov during a confidential trip to Russia in February 2014, during discussions for the first Russian loan. Alexander Babakov’s career is more like that of an oligarch close to the Kremlin who juggles several hats, mixing international politics and business.

Babakov oversaw Kremlin projects and networks aimed at expanding Russian political and cultural influence in Europe, and particularly in France.

In his emails, he regularly mentions links with Ms. Le Pen, believing that through her, Moscow can promote its political agenda in France and on the European scene, mainly with regard to the annexation of Ukrainian territories.

Babakov received reports from the Department of Cooperation with the Organization of Compatriots Abroad of the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and they discussed the situation in France.

In August 2023, Ukrainian hackers from Cyber Resistance announced that they had hacked the email box of the secretariat of this key man in the Kremlin’s influence networks in Europe and the vice president of the Duma: 21,677 files covering the period 2008–2023.

These “Babakov leaks” were revealed without the person concerned reacting or denying them. Questioned by the exiled Russian investigative media Agentstvo about these leaks, Alexander Babakov did not wish to comment. Mediapart’s repeated requests to him and his colleagues also went unanswered, according to the outlet.

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