(Adds SocGen comment)
PARIS Dec 22 French far-right leader Marine Le
Pen does not have the funds she needs for her presidential
election campaign next year, as banks continue to decline to
lend to her National Front for political reasons, a senior party
official said on Monday.
National Front Secretary General Nicolas Bay told Europe 1
radio he had sought a loan of about 27 million euros ($28
million) for the presidential and legislative campaigns next
year "from among banking establishments in France, Europe and
around the world."
He said French banks were refusing to lend the party money.
"That poses a problem of discrimination based on political
opinions," he said.
A Societe Generale spokesman said the bank
systematically refused requests for loans from political
parties, citing good business and political neutrality as the
Credit Agricole, BPCE and Credit Mutuel did not
immediately respond to a request for comment, while BNP Paribas
and the French banking federation declined to comment.
The French media have in the past published letters from French
banks refusing loans to National Front.
Le Pen has the support of around a quarter of French voters
according to opinion polls, but campaign funding has long been
In 2014 it emerged that the party had received a 9 million
euro loan from a Russian lender.
Potential Russian involvement in western elections has
become a sensitive issue since U.S. intelligence agencies
accused their Russian counterparts of seeking to influence the
U.S. election through hacking, something Moscow has denied.
($1 = 0.9573 euros)
(Reporting by Gerard Bon, Andrew Callus and Maya Nikolaeva;
Editing by Robin Pomeroy/Sudip Kar-Gupta)