Le Pen Accuses Banks Of ‘Fatwa’ After Closing Her Accounts

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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French populist leader Marine Le Pen claims her National Front party fell victim to a “banking fatwa” after HSBC and Societe Generale closed her accounts.

Le Pen claims HSBC called her up to inform her that her personal account was getting closed “without justification.” Societe Generale, where Le Pen has been a customer for 30 years, asked her to do shut down her account voluntarily.

Le Pen claims the actions are part of a “banking fatwa” against her populist movement.

“After being the victim of massive judicial persecution, we are witnessing a new stage in the persecution of the National Front — banishment from banking,” Le Pen said at a press conference Wednesday. (RELATED: Marine Le Pen Loses Legal Immunity Over ISIS Images)

Societe Generale denied the decision had anything to do with Le Pen’s political work. The bank issued a statement saying it depended “purely on banking reasons and in respect of all regulatory requirements, without taking into account any political consideration.” HSBC refused to “publicly discuss our relationships with our clients.”

Le Pen made similar accusations against banks when they refused to grant the party a loan for her presidential campaign earlier this year. The latest move by Societe Generale is a way to block the National Front’s “practical ability to function,” according to Le Pen.

“We are cut off at present from our income. This decision puts the National Front in a position of serious difficulty and prevents the party from functioning normally,” Le Pen said at the press conference. “We are witnessing an attempt by the opposition to suffocate us.”
The populist veteran is currently planning a relaunch of the National Front after her loss to Emmanuel Macron in May’s election. The party will hold a conference in early 2018 to discuss policy issues and a name change. Le Pen is reportedly ready to drop plans to exit the eurozone, that has been a longstanding cornerstone in the party’s platform.

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