In the first part of our investigation into the connections of French politicians with the Russian intelligence services and the Kremlin’s “resource distribution sphere”, we focused on the “patriarch” of this “unnatural friendship”, Jean Marie Le Pen.
It is well known that Le Pen Sr. has long passed the “reins of power” in his far-right “National Front”, the current “Rally”, to his daughter Marin, while remaining the “godfather” for her “like-minded people”.
We mentioned old Jean Marie’s outrage at the “dishonest maneuver” when, in the midst of his daughter’s election race in April 2022, the French press “leaked” all the ins and outs of the Kremlin’s financing of the Le Pen clan. The causes and consequences of not only the “Lepen-gate” itself, but also such a sincere anger of a veteran of the Foreign Legion and French military intelligence, were investigated by the expert of the Association, Professor Boris Babin.
As is well known, a few days before the 2022 presidential election, candidate Marine Je Pen announced her foreign policy program, quite “in the spirit of family ideals”: reducing support for Ukraine, boycotting new sanctions against Russia, France’s withdrawal from the NATO joint command etc.
Therefore, although since February 2022 the public “degree of support” for Russia by the “National Rally” has become minimal, in fact, little has changed in their position.
And right here, before the second round of the presidential campaign, a number of French media began to publish, savoring certain details, materials about the Russian financing of the “National Rally”. Moreover, one of the main reasoned sources of this scandal was the “Mediapart” publication, which is associated with the extreme left, Trotskyist political forces, but, nevertheless, publishes reliable materials.
In an article dated April 20, 2022, “Mediapart” reported that the Russians transferred 11 million euros to the “National Front” in 2014, in two tranches. The condition of the illegal “assistance” was the party’s support of the “Kremlin’s course”, including the criminal approval of the occupation of Crimea.
It was also reported about the transfer of another 8 million euros to the “Front” from Moscow in 2017, through the mediation of businessman Laurent Foucher. Prior to that, since February 2022, “Mediapart” published separate references to the Kremlin’s bribery of Le Pen, but without much detail.
At the same time, although the very fact of the bribery of Marine Le Pen by the Kremlin revealed by journalists was quite obvious, the reasons for this in the words of her father, “a dishonest maneuver”, are interesting.
Here it is worth citing the previously mentioned position of the researcher Marlene Leruel. She also confirmed the indicated political corruption of the French extreme right, but at the same time highlighted the close ties with Russia of a number of people who were close to President Emmanuel Macron at different periods.
In particular, the researcher mentions Emmanuel Leroy, Frédéric Chatillon, Jean-Luc Schaffhauser and Macron’s adviser Aymeric Chauprade, who was previously a deputy from the “National Front”.
However, we should pay special attention to the figure of Schaffhauser. The fact is that it was he, according to “Mediapart” and other media, who was the intermediary in the transfer by the Russians of the “first tranche” of 2014 described above.
At the same time, “help in communications” between the then parliamentarian Schaffhauser and “Russian banks”, in turn, turned out to be the old lobbyist of the “Auchan” corporation Henri Guaino and the economist Jacques Sapir, who has been teaching at the Moscow School of Economics since 1993. However, Schaffhauser was also important because of his “direct contacts,” as Bernard Monot, then National Front economist, bluntly admitted in an interview with “StreetPress”.
Basically, in the case of “Kremlin financing”, journalists in the materials of 2022 referred precisely to the opened communication between Shoprad, Schaffhauser and Mono.
Interestingly, Schaffhauser’s “first-level contacts” were formed primarily with Alexander Babakov, Putin’s old confidant in interaction with various “Russian structures abroad”.
The French parliamentarian himself stated that they arose in the early years of the 21st century “on the soil of the Orthodox Church,” since he allegedly carried out the “mission of the Vatican in Russia” to “rapprochement of church positions.”
Most of the details of the “Kremlin loans” were repeatedly described by journalists, including the mediation of Vilis Dambiņš, director of the management company, controlled by the same Alexander Babakov. It was Dambiņš, who jointly owned the Luxembourg firm “Financiere Egine S.A.” with Babakov. repeatedly met with Schaffhauser in Geneva regarding the receipt of funds through the “First Czech-Russian Bank”.
At the same time, as “Re:Baltica” and the same “Mediapart” reported, in 2014 and 2015, another offshore company controlled by Dambiņš, “Spencerdale Ltd”, paid 250 thousand euros through the Luxembourg campaign “East West Communication Group” to research center “Académie Européenne”.
One of its founders “by coincidence” was the same Jean-Luc Schaffhauser, and Schaffhauser received another 140 thousand euros personally for himself. By the way, since the deputy issued these funds to the “Cano SAS” company from Luxembourg, registered in the name of his wife, and did not mention them in his declaration, the European Parliament began a separate investigation.
However, since 2014, Schaffhauser’s pro-Russian activities have been hard to miss, even without knowing about the indicated bank tranches.
In October 2015, together with the notorious Thierry Mariani and Nadine Morano, he arrives in Moscow, and in the spring of 2017, Schaffhauser criminally arrives in the occupied Crimea for the fake “Third Yalta international economic forum”.
Schaffhauser’s “Crimean trace” would be incomplete without a reminder of the role of the same “friend of Babakov” in the criminal support of the Russian occupation. We have already written about the case of the illegal “Sevastopolenergo”, whose ties with Alexander Babakov and Evgenim Giner were described by the occupiers themselves.
The criminal “re-registration” of “Sevastopolenergo” to the “registers” of the occupiers took place “only” in 2017, and until February 11, 2022, Evgeny Bocharov was declared the “founder of the company”, and Igor Duravkin became its “director”.
In 2015, “Radio.Svoboda” (“Radio.Liberty”) reported that the Ukrainian company “PJSC Energy Company Sevastopolenergo” changed its legal address and registered in Kherson instead of the Crimea, and in Sevastopol, the “meeting of shareholders” allegedly decided to create its “branch”.
It was added that at that time “Sevastopolenergo” was controlled by “VS Energy International N.V.”, which owned a number of regional energy companies in Ukraine; “Radio.Liberty” also attributed “Sevastopolenergo” to Alexander Babakov’s control.
According to official registers, PJSC “Energy Company “Sevastopolenergo” was further registered in the city of Vishneve, Kyiv Region, an analysis of the company’s published documents shows that from 2011 to 2019 the general meeting of its shareholders was held by the same persons, for example, Yuri Solovyov.
On November 22, 2022, it was reported about a search conducted by the Security Service of Ukraine in the “VS Energy” energy company, whose shareholders until 2022 were repeatedly recorded by Russian entrepreneurs Yevgeny Giner and Mikhail Voevodin, as well as the deputy chairman of the aggressor’s State Duma Alexander Babakov.
As it “suddenly turned out” the company occupies 10 % of the energy market of Ukraine and owns blocks of shares in “Khersonoblenergo”, “Kirovogradoblenergo”, “Zhytomiroblenergo”, “Rivnooblenergo” and “Chernivtsyoblenergo”, while among its formal beneficiaries was … the aforementioned Vilis Dambinsh organized the “tranches” to Schaffhauser.
On November 30, 2022, the State Bureau of Investigation of Ukraine announced the suspicion of Aleksander Babakov, who encroached on the territorial integrity of Ukraine through the corresponding criminal “votes”.
According to the State Bureau of Investigation, investigators are also “investigating the possible involvement of the suspect in the activities of the VS Energy group of companies, which owns critical infrastructure facilities in Ukraine”.
But for now, let’s digress from the “Sevastopol-Chernivtsi-Kherson” friends of Schaffhauser. The aforementioned “Académie Européenne” also worked out its “share of the Kremlin pie”, which held a fake “discussion” of the alleged “crisis of power in Ukraine” in Brussels on June 3, 2015, at which the same Schaffhauser promoted the criminal Kremlin theses about the alleged “special status” of certain Ukrainian territories.
Judging by everything, the loan implied “repeated work off”, and in 2016, at a similar show in the same Brussels, Schaffhauser again “crucified” as supposedly some “minorities in Ukraine, not only Russian-speaking”, the same fake “special status”, as well as “Minsk agreements”.
Schaffhauser also worked out the “Kremlin fees” in the European Parliament, of which he was a deputy for a certain period, not particularly hiding his Russophilia, and in a rather outrageous form.
So he “marked” not only delusional statements, but also eccentric behavior – at hearings on the downed Boeing over the Donetsk Region, and in discussions about Syrian refugees.
And paradoxically, after all this “Kremlin sarabande”, Schaffhauser, who lost his mandate both in Strasbourg and Paris, “suddenly” finds himself “entered” into the court of the new President Emmanuel Macron.
In 2020, he publishes complimentary texts about the “fight against separatism and fundamentalism” by the Macron administration. And before that, in 2019, Schaffhauser holds a press conference in Strasbourg, covered by “Rue89 Strasbourg”, where, in the distant run-up to the 2022 presidential election, the retired MP confidently declares that he “does not see Marine Le Pen’s victory” as her “former close friend”.
At the same time, Schaffhauser stated that he knew Emmanuel Macron “long before he became famous”, stating that “Macron is in his right mind, but he does not have the means to carry out his policy. … he tried to get the European budget, but he didn’t get it.” It remains to be understood how a former member of the European Parliament, who lives in a village in the Vosges department with two German shepherds and periodically rides to Paris “for meetings”, not only familiarly declares “Macron’s common sense”, but later remains the one whom someone in the administration Macron is clearly “keeps in mind”.
And here, in addition to the Strasbourg newspapers and the aforementioned “Trotskyist” investigations from “Mediapart”, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the Schaffhauser investigation from another French publication, “StreetPress”, which is less prone to self-censorship and has wide quotations from its sources.
This material explicitly states that in the 2000s, Schaffhauser worked as a “consultant on the Russian market” in the “Thalès” companies, the already mentioned “Auchan” and “Dassault”, and in particular acted as an intermediary in the sale of Falcon business jets on “expanding Russian market”.
Further, the aforementioned National Front economist Bernard Monot draws Schaffhauser into the “far-right orbit” in the early 2010s, seeing the Alsatian as a “good catch”.
Already then, in addition to his activities as a consultant to the flagships of the French economy, Schaffhauser was widely oriented in the circles of high-ranking civil servants and employers, with connections from Christian trade unions to the World Bank, where he was a consultant for some time.
The aforementioned Henri Guaino once let slip about a “working dinner” with Schaffhauser and Gérard Mulliez, founding president of the Auchan group.
Researchers from “StreetPress” state a simple fact – if the Kremlin “paid for the mediation” of Schaffhauser with money, then the “National Front” did the same with a mandate.
It is noteworthy that the rapid nomination of Schaffhauser as a candidate of the Le Pen party in Strasbourg after the issue of the “Kremlin loan” was resolved caused anger at the “upstart” from local functionaries of the “front”.
These were Pascale Ellès, who declared “deals behind his back” and then broke with the “front-line soldiers”, and André Kormann, who was not afraid to say that Schaffhauser’s “business card book allowed him to have strong arguments, to get close to Marine Le Pen”.
That Schaffhauser cynically used Le Pen solely to obtain the desired mandate is also confirmed by his previous “party colleague” from the centrists, former deputy Harry Lapp. At the same time, Schaffhauser’s close contacts with the former mayor of Strasbourg and the president of the Alsace Regional Council, Marcel Rudloff, are also mentioned.
It remains to be understood where the “opportunist” Schaffhauser got such an extensive web of contacts from. And here, in covering the root causes, various French media are unanimous.
Thus, “Rue89 Strasbourg” at first called the candidate for deputies Schaffhauser “a quasi-spy of the times before the fall of the Berlin Wall”, and after the completion of his term indicated that “in order to justify his “talent for unification”, he refers to the “opposition forums” in the Eastern Europe, where he participated before the fall of the Berlin Wall and which united “from royalists to communists””.
Also, “StreetPress” says that “behind his decent bureaucratic appearance, Schaffhauser likes to maintain his reputation as a witcher” and “with his learned tone, he gloatingly talks about his trips behind the Iron Curtain to meet anti-communist dissidents in the 1980s” and about certain “secret missions he carried out undercover as president of one of his various institutions”.
Here it is worth returning to our previous review of the biography of Le Pen Sr., who just worked on “unifying royalists and communists” with all kinds of “Soviet dissidents” in the form of Dugin, Ilya Glazunov or Eduard Limonov. We wrote that this approach was clearly “not badly perceived” in Moscow, but we should not forget about other possible participants in the process.
It is extremely interesting here what “StreetPress” says about Schaffhauser’s belonging to the Catholic traditionalist “Opus Dei” lobby, which seeks to infiltrate the elites of as many countries as possible.
At the same time, the words of the Swiss François de Siebenthal are quoted, about the joint work with Schaffhauser “as part of their theological activities” in the 1970s, dedicated not only to the translations of the texts of Pope Benedict XIV, but also “travels to Africa, Asia and the countries of the East in order to promote more Christian economic system through various associations”.
And while “StreetPress” refers to Schaffhauser as “a man from Moscow” who “now seems to have broken with the principles of the Catholic financial system”, things may not be as simple as they seem.
It was not for nothing that Schaffhauser’s work twenty years ago to “build bridges” between the Vatican and the Moscow Patriarchates was mentioned above, and if in this “game” the “trump card” can be in a completely unexpected place, then quite a lot can be assessed differently.
For example, these are the obvious contacts of the old spy with someone in the current French presidential administration, and the publication of materials exposing the venality of Le Pen at the most opportune moment, and the sincere indignation of her father, an old veteran of the special services, at such an obvious “betrayal”.
Well, we will write in the next part of our investigation about the results of such a “long game” for the French “new right”, for the same Russian oligarchs stuck “somewhere between the Vatican and the Kremlin”, as well as for the aggressor’s nuclear energy and neo-colonialism.