Golden assets: Jean-Marie Le Pen's secret Swiss bank account

By and

The honorary president of the far-right Front National, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was the economic beneficiary of a undisclosed trust in Switzerland which was overseen by his butler and which contained 2.2 million euros in its bank account, according to information received by Mediapart. Gold ingots and coins made up 1.7 million euros of the sum involved. The revelation of the undeclared account, which was at the HSBC bank and then moved to the Compagnie bancaire helvétique (CBH), is set to provide fresh embarrassment for the Front National which is already the subject of a a judicial probe over campaign funding, and which has been hit by a damaging public split between Jean-Marie Le Pen, its former president, and his daughter Marine Le Pen, its current president. Jean-Marie Le Pen could now face investigation for tax fraud or for making false declarations to public authorities. Karl Laske and Marine Turchi report.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

The Front National's honorary president, Jean-Marie Le Pen, held a hidden Swiss bank account via a trust overseen by his butler, Gerald Gérin, Mediapart can reveal. The account, held first at HSBC then at the Compagnie bancaire helvétique (CBH), contained 2.2 million euros, of which 1.7 million was in the form of gold ingots and coins.

Mediapart understands that the prosecution authorities at Nanterre, west of Paris, were handed details of the trust and bank account by the French anti-money laundering organisation Tracfin, which is part of the French ministry of finance. They were shown a document dating from 2008 in which Le Pen's butler, Gérald Gérin, who is today also an FN politician, accepts that he was the legal beneficiary of the trust. Jean-Marie Le Pen himself is believed to have been the economic beneficiary of that trust. It has also emerged that in the same year, 2008, Jean-Marie Le Pen's wife Jany Le Pen closed a personal account at the bank Crédit Suisse. These fresh revelations could mean that Jean-Marie Le Pen faces action for failing to make a full disclosure of his estate to financial watchdogs, and possibly for tax fraud.