Le Pen Party’s Russian Lender Falls Victim to Central Bank Purge

  • Central bank revokes First Czech Russian Bank’s license
  • France’s National Front borrowed 10 million euros from lender

Marine Le Pen’s National Front party, which turned to a Russian bank after saying it couldn’t get a loan domestically, will have to find a new lender.

The First Czech Russian Bank’s license was revoked after its capital adequacy level fell below required limits, the central bank in Moscow said in a statement Friday. It was Russia’s 126th-largest bank by assets.

France’s anti-euro, anti-immigration party took out a loan of almost 10 million euros ($11.1 million) from the First Czech Russian Bank in 2014 to finance its campaigns, and said this year it’s seeking another 25 million euros from Russian lenders to bankroll its 2017 presidential race. Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul last month cited National Front’s loan by a “Kremlin-friendly Russian bank” as evidence that President Vladimir Putin supports Brexit and movements opposing the European Union.

First Czech Russian Bank had been placed under temporary administration in March, the first step toward losing its license, as the Russian central bank culls weak lenders. During Governor Elvira Nabiullina’s three-year tenure, the regulator has shuttered almost a third of the country’s banks as it seeks to clean up the system.

First Czech Russian Bank’s phone lines were busy when called by Bloomberg.

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