Marine Le Pen accuses banks of ‘persecution’ over account closures
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen accused banks of “persecution” Wednesday, claiming accounts belonging to her and her National Front party had been closed.
Le Pen said at a press conference that Société Générale, France’s third-largest bank by market value, told her and other National Front members that it wished to end their banking relationship.
According to Le Pen, the head of HSBC also called to tell her the bank was closing her personal account. Société Générale and HSBC have neither confirmed nor denied closing the accounts and declined to comment citing banking confidentiality, according to Reuters. French banks are legally allowed to close accounts without giving a specific reason, so long as they provide notice in advance.
Le Pen called the move to “banish” her and her party members “a political decision.” She also urged politicians including President Emmanuel Macron to stand up for the National Front.
“Financial oligarchies are trying to stifle the opposition, and trying to intervene in the course of French democracy,” Le Pen said.
This isn’t the first time Le Pen’s party has had trouble with banks: During her presidential run, French banks refused her requests for campaign loans, and she was forced to look elsewhere for funding.
Since her loss to Macron in the presidential election in May, Le Pen and her party have been reeling from infighting, which culminated in her right-hand man and friend Florian Philippot stepping down as the party’s vice president in September.