Marine Le Pen spotted at Trump Tower
France's far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has been spotted at Trump Tower in New York city.
The presidential contender was pictured on Thursday (12 January) in the Tower's lobby with Italian businessman and Trump's neighbour Guido “George” Lombardi.
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Lombardi has been described by the Politico website as an informal fixer for people hoping to meet US presidential-elect and lives in an apartment a few floors below Trump's penthouse suite.
Le Pen was also sitting with National Front vice-president Louis Aliot, according to the AFP. She said her visit was private. Trump's up-coming press secretary Sean Spicer said Le Pen had not met anyone from the Trump team.
Bloomberg news reported Lombardi had organised a party for Le Pen earlier in the week that included “entrepreneurs, businessmen, industrialists - there was a couple of people from the United Nations”.
Her unexpected appearance at the Trump Tower in the midst of a busy election season was unexpected.
The cash strapped National Front party is seeking money to help bank roll her campaign amid sudden demands to repay a €9 million loan from Russian lender First Czech-Russian Bank (FCRB).
Le Pen recently secured another €6 million from a company owned by her fire-brand father Jean-Marie Le Pen.
The party needs at least €20 million to help with the upcoming campaigns.
French banking institutions have refused to lend the money. Le Pen told reporters earlier this month that she is forced to find cash outside of France, as a result.
"If any English or American bank would offer money I would gladly accept it,” she had said.
The National Front leader had previously described Trump's election win as the start of "a great movement across the world".
Her admiration for Trump and his victory is seen "as a sign of hope" for Europe's emerging anti-establishment movements, she said.
The anti-EU candidate is currently leading in the first round election poll ahead of her conservative rival Francois Fillon. But Fillon, a former prime minister, still maintains comfortable poll lead in the final and second round vote on 7 May.