Nicolas Sarkozy is once again in the sights of justice. The former president, under strong legal pressure since his political retirement, is the target of an investigation by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF), which this time suspects Nicolas Sarkozy of a possible “influence peddling” in his lucrative consulting activities in Russia.
The anti-corruption prosecution, which crossed swords in December with the former head of state during the trial of the “wiretapping” affair, has been investigating since the summer of 2020 on the remuneration it has received from ‘a Russian insurance company, Reso Garantia, controlled by two Russian billionaires of Armenian origin, Sergei and Nikolai Sarkissov, according to Mediapart.
Joined by AFP and Franceinfo, the PNF confirmed on Friday January 15 that it had opened this preliminary investigation of the counts of “influence peddling” “and” laundering of crime or misdemeanor “, without confirming the date of opening of the investigations, which would have been triggered by a report from the financial intelligence service Tracfin. Joined by franceinfo, the entourage of the former president declares himself “perfectly serene”. “Nicolas Sarkozy’s consulting activities are framed in strict compliance with legal and ethical rules”, he specifies.
“Justice is trying to verify whether the former head of state only acted as a consultant, which would be perfectly legal, or if he would have engaged in potentially criminal lobbying activities on behalf of the Russian oligarchs”, writes Mediapart. The contract concluded in 2019 would cover several years and an amount of 3 million euros.
Nicolas Sarkozy would have already received 500,000 euros under this contract, at the beginning of 2020, on his account at the Edmond de Rothschild bank, still according to Mediapart. The bank, joined by AFP, “does not comment and recalls that compliance with legal and regulatory obligations is at the top of its priorities”.
Reso Garantia, founded in 1991, is one of the leading insurance companies in Russia, specializing in particular in motor vehicle insurance, with more than 34,000 agents in this country and 11 million customers. “We do not comment on the terms of Mr. Sarkozy’s contract”, reacted the press service of the Russian company, quoted by the agency Ria Novosti, judging “strange that this subject interests someone today since this contract is over a year and a half”.