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4/28/15

France: Jean-Marie Le Pen allegedly hid millions in money and gold in secret Swiss account

While Le Pen has been known to make headlines in France for his provocative, if not outright racist or anti-Semitic remarks, this time it’s for possible fiscal fraud.

The 2.2 million euros, 1.7 million of which was in gold bullion and coins, was originally placed in a trust with the Swiss branch of the bank HSBC, French investigative website Mediapart revealed on Monday.

In May 2014, the money was transferred to another Swiss bank, the Compagnie Bancaire Helvétique (CBH), in the Bahamas via a trust handled by Le Pen’s personal assistant, Gérald Gérin, Mediapart reported.

Meanwhile, Le Pen’s financial dealings apparently caught the attention of France’s anti-fraud and money laundering agency Tracfin, which alerted the prosecutor’s office in Nanterre, just west of Paris, to the situation in late 2013, Mediapart reported. Around the same time, the Paris prosecutor’s office opened a separate, preliminary investigation into Le Pen’s assets.

The scandal comes as the FN faces serious questions over its funding. In November 2014, the party confirmed reports that it had borrowed nine million euros from the Moscow-based First Czech Russian Bank (FRCB) because it was struggling to find lenders in France.

More recently, the FN came under scrutiny last month after the European Parliament informed the European Anti-Fraud Office of suspected irregularities regarding the FN’s use of funds intended to pay the salaries of EU parliamentary assistants.

Read more: france 24 - Jean-Marie Le Pen allegedly hid millions in money and gold in secret Swiss account - France 24

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