this allows “to forget the Russian banks” which “financed” the party, analyzes a sociologist of the extreme right

To finance its campaign for the European elections, the National Rally needs more than four million euros that it would like to borrow from its activists.

“The first advantage” the new borrowing of the RN from its supporters, “it is to make us forget the Russian banks and other non-French banks which financed the National Front and then the National Rally”analyzes sociologist Erwan Lecoeur, Tuesday October 31 on franceinfo, while the far-right party launches a loan from its activists to finance the campaign for the 2024 European elections.

Franceinfo: What are the benefits for the RN of being financed by individuals?

Erwan Lecoeur : First of all, it should be noted that it is a very old story to ask individuals, activists, to participate in drawing up the budget for different campaigns. This was already the case in the 80s. Some candidates even paid a lot of money to be a candidate for the National Front at the time and therefore there are several advantages. The first advantage is to make us forget the Russian banks and other non-French banks which financed the National Front and then the National Rally. The second enormous interest is once again to put the National Rally in a victim position, facing a system which would not want to lend it money. The third advantage is also that in a certain way, this allows activists and sympathizers, but also the leaders of the National Rally not to ask so many questions about the way in which the National Rally’s money is managed. This was recalled recently: today, the National Rally is very largely financed, like all parties, by public financing, since public financing in France depends on legislative elections. However, the national gathering now has a significant number of deputies. He therefore has a financial windfall of 10 million euros per year which, for the moment, has been mainly devoted not to the next elections, but to the repayment of the famous Russian loan.

The party still has around 20 million euros in debt which comes from these loans to individuals…

Quite. There are 20 to 30 million euros in debt, including around ten million euros for this Russian loan. But there is also a way to manage money. The National Rally and the National Front managed money, as we learned in the 1990s, in a somewhat unusual way, by paying certain executives relatively dearly, by ensuring that all the money went to some places and not others. We learned about this in particular when Bruno Mégret explained how the National Front at the end of the 90s, from which he was excluded by Jean-Marie Le Pen, managed its money. At the time, this made headlines as we saw that the Le Pen family was extremely expensive. And Bruno Mégret left in particular on these questions.

The Paris public prosecutor’s office recently requested a trial into the management of public funds by the RN. 27 people are suspected of using European Union money to pay assistants working for the party. Is this a hard blow for the RN?

It’s a big blow in the sense that it’s happening now. But we have known for a very long time that the problem is there. The accusation concerns a financing system, that is to say the diversion of hundreds of thousands of euros from Europe to the party, directly to people who work only for the party or precisely for Marine Le Pen Sometimes. François Bayrou also resigned from his ministry for essentially the same type of accusation, with the MoDem. So we know very well that there is a problem with the way in which the National Rally used the European elections and the European deputies as a source of financing for the party, which is strictly prohibited a priori.

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