The most likely candidate to win France’s May elections Emmanuel Macron has been the target of hundreds if not thousands of Russian hacks and a fake news smear campaign the head of his party has said. Richard Ferrand the chief of Macron’s independent Onwards Party has said Kremlin controlled media including Russia Today and Sputnik have engaged in a fake news campaign against the candidate. “Two big media outlets belonging to the Russian state Russia Today and Sputnik spread fake news on a daily basis, and then they are picked up, quoted and influence the democratic (process),” Ferrand was quoted by Reuters as saying. Macron has been accused by the Russian media as being part of the US global banking elite by both international facing but Kremlin backed outlets. The party official’s comments come on the heels of an interview given by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in which he claimed to have damaging information on the centre-left candidate.
Speaking to the nominally independent Russia publication Isvestia, Assange said in an interview that he had discovered the information about Macron among emails belonging to Hillary Clinton. WikiLeaks’ disclosure of the emails, stored on an unsecure server, caused one of the major scandals of the US presidential campaign, with some observers claiming the leak cost the Democrat the election.
French election has already been dogged by scandal. Macron has had to work to dispel rumours he had a homosexual affair with a radio producer. At the same time the campaign of former frontrunner Francois Fillon has been pushed to the brink of collapse by allegations paid his family hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of a fake-jobs scandal.