Marine Le Pen battered by controversy as details emerge of hacked Kremlin text messages and holocaust-minimising from her father

Ms Le Pen condemned her father’s words with a degree of ferocity that she has never employed against him before

Marine Le Pen has known far better weeks.

Five days after her far right party underperformed in French local elections, she received a double blow to her credibility today from hacked Kremlin text messages and a Holocaust-minimising outburst by her father.

Texts to and from a Kremlin official, hacked and leaked by a Russian opposition group, implied that Ms Le Pen’s party had been given a 9m euro loan by a Russian bank last year as a “reward” for supporting President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of the Crimea.

Earlier, the founder of the Front National Jean-Marie Le Pen repeated his declaration that the Nazi gas chambers in which millions of jews died during World War Two were merely a “detail” of history.

 

The comment by Le Pen senior in a radio interview is the latest in a series of incidents in which he has deliberately opposed his daughter’s attempts to rid the Front National of the odour of racism, anti-semitism and Holocaust revisionism.

Asked whether he stood by his “detail of history” jibe first made in 1987, the party’s semi-retired founder said that he had not changed his mind and the comment was merely a “statement of the facts”.

Ms Le Pen, 46, interrupted an easter holiday abroad with her own three daughters today to condemn her father’s words with a a degree of ferocity that she has never employed against him before. She said that she “disagreed profoundly” with “both his comments and the way on which he expressed them.

“He argues that only controversy of this kind can rescue the Front National from media obscurity,” she said. “That is untrue. The only thing that he is trying  to rescue from media obscurety is himself.”

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On 17 March last year, “Kostia”, believed to be a pro-Putin Russian exile in the south of France, reported to the Kremlin: “Marine Le Pen has officially recognised the results (of the referendum) in Crimea”

The revelations contained in the hacked Kremlin text messages are potentially even more damaging to Ms Le Pen.  

When the National Front received a 9m euro loan in November last year from the First Czech-Russian Bank, she insisted that this was purely a commercial transaction and had no link with her frequent expressions of support and admiration for Vladimir Putin.

Text messages published today by the French news website Mediapart suggested otherwise. The messages were among 1,187 pages of texts sent and received by Timur Prokopenko, head of the Kremlin internal affairs department, which were hacked and published earlier this week by an opposition group called “Anonymous International”.

They included texts concerning Marine Le Pen and the referendum in the Russian-annexed Crimea.

On 17 March last year, “Kostia”, believed to be a pro-Putin Russian exile in the south of France, reported to the Kremlin: “Marine Le Pen has officially recognised the results (of the referendum) in Crimea”

The senior Kremlin official replied: “She has not betrayed out expectations.”

Kostia said: “We must, in one way or another, thank the French. It is importrant.”

The Kremlin: “ Yes. Super!”

Eight months later the FN received the Euros 9m loan which is expected to be the first tranche of a series of Russian payments which will fund the cash-strapped far right party up to the French presidential election in 2017.

Both Marine Le Pen and other senior NF officails today denied all knowledge of the two men in the text exchange. Ms Le Pen said that she could prove that in March 2014 she was negotoiating for a loan from a bank in Abu Dhabi (which fell through).

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