May 30, 2023

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François Fillon denies any Russian “interference” before delegates

“No interference” Russian or “a penny of money” received, and only “concern” for him in the private sector: Former Prime Minister François Fillon was asked in the Assembly on Tuesday about his links with Moscow and its past existence. Board of Directors of Russian Multinational Corporations.

The former right-wing candidate for the 2017 presidential election appeared before a commission of inquiry launched by the National Rally (RN) and dedicated to “political, economic and financial interference by foreign powers”.

François Fillon first spoke about his “36 years of public life” as deputy, minister or head of government from 2007 to 2012.

“Foreign intervention, yes, I faced it, most of the time, it came from a friendly and friendly country called the United States. I asked President Sarkozy for five years through the NSA,” the US National Security Agency, he said. “I was not directly affected by Russian interference,” he adds.

Mr. Fillon later retrained in the private sector and briefly served on the boards of directors of Russian companies Sibur (petrochemicals) and Zarubezhneft (hydrocarbons) before he resigned after the Russian military’s invasion of Ukraine. .

The former head of government emphasized the personal nature of his activities: “I see my career as I see fit, if I want to sell rillettes on Red Square, I will sell rillettes on Red Square”.

“All this happened at the end of 2021. I attended a council meeting with Zarubezhneft” and before “my resignation”, “after the invasion of Ukraine”, I attended a “video conference meeting from Sipur due to Covid”. said.

“I have never touched a single penny of money from Russia in my political and personal life,” he assured, adding that “I would have been paid naturally” if he had “continued” on these two boards.

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François Fillon has also been questioned about French company Cifal, which operates in Russia, and has been targeted by an initial investigation by the national financial prosecutor’s office into allegations of corruption by a foreign public official.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Cifal was appointed by Orion under the leadership of Special Adviser to the President in Congo-Brazza, Lucien Ebada – to find an investor in Russia to sell its stake in MBK Oil. Congo.

With this in mind, Cifal Gilles Rémy’s manager François Fillon invited him to contact a Russian businessman. In this agreement, Mr. Pilon was paid as a commercial contributor. A source familiar with the matter said there is no suspicion of corruption against him at this time.

“I’m not concerned by the current investigations, I work for a company that cares about the investigation,” said Mr. Philo underlined.

– “Le Pen in the Kremlin” –

On the geopolitical level, “I made a mistake at one point and I readily admit it. I’m sure that President Putin will not act” on Ukraine, “an absolute disaster,” said François Fillon.

A former prime minister and Sarthe’s ex-deputy, he returned to the Palais Bourbon nearly a year after being convicted on appeal over his wife Penelope’s fictitious jobs, which included a year’s institution, a €375,000 fine and ten years in prison, including four years. Ineligible years. The couple had indicated their intention to appeal.

The commission of inquiry into foreign interference, chaired by RN vice-president Jean-Philippe Tanguy, was launched by Marine Le Pen’s group at the end of 2022 in an attempt to reduce allegations that the far-right party is an agent of Russian influence. France. Other camps condemned the “turn” of the national rally.

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Many politicians have already given interviews. For Renaissance reporter Constance Le Grip, the commission’s “most important point” is the strategy of influence and interference between Russia and the FN, which has become the RN, meeting in Marine Le Pen’s Kremlin before the 2017 presidential election.

On Thursday, former RN MEP Jean-Luc Schaffhauser will be questioned over a 9.4 million euro Russian loan given to Marine Le Pen’s party in 2014. The commissions he allegedly received are the subject of an investigation by the Office of the National Financial Prosecutor.