Meeting Le Pen not interference, says Putin


25 March, 2017

Le Pen, who leads the far-right National Front Party, is expected to qualify for the first run-off in the presidential contest.

Her campaign treasurer Jean-Michel Dubois didn't respond to a text message asking if she plans to meet with potential lenders during the Russian visit.

Other French-language Russian media sources have spread unsubstantiated claims that Le Pen's pro-EU rival, Emmanuel Macron, had a gay love affair and that he was an agent of USA banks and of Saudi Arabia. It also said this week that a French media report alleging Fillon was paid to arrange introductions to Putin was "fake news".

Last year, Le Canard Enchaîné, the French satirical newspaper, reported that Mike Turner, a Republican on the US House of Representatives' permanent select committee on intelligence, had urged American intelligence agencies to look into Le Pen's Russian Federation connections. "I think it would be helpful to share intelligence between our countries", she told the president, according to Russian news agencies.

"As you know, [killings] took place in Great Britain a few days ago", said Ms. Le Pen at a meeting with Mr. Putin in Moscow.

It is rare for Putin to meet a foreign presidential candidate so close to an election.

The Front National in 2014 received a controversial 9 million euros ($9.7 million) loan from a Russian bank that later went bankrupt.

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Marine Le Pen is convinced that "there is a civil war in Ukraine" and there are no Russian troops there.

"My stance has remained unchanged ever since the conflict began", Le Pen said.

Speaking to reporters in a Moscow hotel after her meeting with Putin, Le Pen denied that she had discussed financial aid for her party, echoing an earlier denial from the Kremlin.

On March 23, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said allegations that Russian Federation was interfering in electoral processes in France and Germany as "absolutely fictional".

"This meeting is especially important now that a serious terrorist threat hangs over all of us", Le Pen said, according to a transcript provided by the Kremlin.

The French presidential election is followed by parliamentary elections in June.

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