In addition to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, France’s upstart “far right” political leader Marine Le Pen has fallen victim to the selective revelations of the Panama Papers. British businessman Arron Banks, slotted to replace Nigel Farage as the leader of the UK Independence Party, has also taken heat.
On Monday, Le Pen cited the papers selectively “leaked” by a Soros, Rockefeller and Rothschild funded “investigative journalism” outfit, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. “The control-free movement of men, goods and capital, coupled with high finance’s stranglehold on all levels of the economy, can only produce global fraudulent and money-laundering systems,” she said.
The left-center French newspaper Le Monde followed up Le Pen’s remarks by publishing an account implicating her close friends and family members in a tax evasion scheme operated out of a shell company in Hong Kong. The Le Monde story says Frédéric Chatillon, a long time friend of Le Pen, was responsible for moving €300,000 into the offshore haven. Chatillon took to his Facebook page and argued the operation is entirely legal.
The political establishment in France was dealt a blow in December when the populist and anti-EU National Front made unexpected election gains, particularly in Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie where Le Pen won 40.6% of the vote. The previous year the party received 4,712,461 votes in the European Parliament election, finishing first with 24.86% of the vote and 24 of France’s 74 seats. France’s Socialist party appealed to the center-right Les Républicains to cobble together a bipartisan alliance capable of defeating Le Pen, but the effort was opposed by former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Former British Tory and UKIP donor Banks denies any involvement in a network of tax havens exposed by the Panama Papers. “It has been reported in The Guardian that Mr. Arron Banks was named in the leaked Panama files,” a spokesman for Banks said. “The claim is not true. Mr. Banks has never used the lawyer named and therefore does not appear in the leaked information.” He said companies mentioned in the article are defunct, do not trade and Banks “looks forward to receiving an apology” from The Guardian and the Daily Mail.
— Mark Bartlam (@MarkIsAngry) April 4, 2016
The effort to damage UKIP arrives as Britain heads into a June 23 referendum to decide if the country will leave the European Union. The Westminster elite pulled out all the stops to convince the British people it is in their best interest to reject a Brexit. The establishment is also battling against public opinion that has turned against open borders promoted by the EU and an influx of foreigners. UKIP has capitalized on opposition to unchecked immigration and opposition to the European Union.
“Ukip, thanks to its ability to capture the public mood, is fast becoming a formidable force in British politics. The political establishment is terrified. For the first time in decades its cartel is threatened. That is why the parties have lashed out so hysterically at Ukip trying to portray it as a group gripped by extremism or xenophobia,” Leo McKinstry wrote in 2014.
As Infowars and others have noted key members of the political elite have yet to be directly implicated in tax avoidance schemes, although connections are now being made.
For instance, Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton is linked to offshore tax havens through a Clinton-connected lobbying firm and Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton associate. Clinton is linked to Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, through Podesta Group, a lobbying firm co-founded by Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta and his brother, Tony Podesta, a major Clinton bundler, writes Chuck Ross for The Daily Caller. Bidzina Ivanishvili, a billionaire and the former prime minister of the Caucasus state of Georgia, is mentioned in the Panama Papers and his name also appears in the Hillary Clinton email dump through Blumenthal.