Politics, World, Europe

France's Le Pen says personal, party bank accounts shut

National Front leader Marine Le Pen claims Societe Generale, HSBC, Credit du Nord closed personal, party accounts

22.11.2017
France's Le Pen says personal, party bank accounts shut

By Hajer M'tiri

PARIS

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen on Wednesday said she is filing lawsuits for "political discrimination" against bank Societe Generale, its subsidiary Credit du Nord and Britain’s biggest bank, HSBC, for closing her and her National Front party’s accounts.

Le Pen said she and her party were the victims of what she called a "banking banishment" meant to silence them.

According to Le Pen, she was informed by phone earlier on Wednesday by HSBC's French boss Thomas Vandeville that her personal account was being shut.

Le Pen said she had been a client of the bank for 25 years.

Her National Front party claimed earlier that Societe Generale, where they have been clients for 30 years, closed its accounts and that when the central bank ordered Credit du Nord to manage an account for her the latter refused to process check and credit card payments.

"This is an attempt to suffocate an opposition party," she claimed.

Under French law, banks are allowed to close accounts unilaterally.

Societe General issued a statement following Le Pen's press conference, saying the "group’s decisions on opening or closing a bank account depend purely on banking reasons and in respect of all regulatory requirements, without taking into account any political consideration".

The other two banks did not confirm or deny the closure of the accounts, citing rules on confidentiality.

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