Nicolas Sarkozy, December 7, 2020. -
The National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) has opened a preliminary investigation for "influence peddling" and "money laundering" targeting Nicolas Sarkozy's consulting activities in Russia, we learned on Friday from concordant sources, confirming information from Mediapart.
The PNF confirmed to AFP that it had opened an investigation into the heads of “influence peddling” but also of “laundering of a crime or offense”.
He did not wish to confirm the date of opening of the investigation.
A source familiar with the matter also confirmed this information to AFP.
Three million euros
According to Mediapart, anti-corruption justice has been investigating since the summer of 2020, following a report from the financial intelligence service Tracfin, on the reasons why Nicolas Sarkozy is paid by a Russian insurance company, Reso Garantia, controlled by two Russian billionaires of 'Armenian origin, Sergei and Nikolai Sarkisov.
"Justice seeks to verify whether the former head of state only acted as a consultant, which would be perfectly legal, or if he engaged in potentially criminal lobbying activities on behalf of the Russian oligarchs", writes the information site.
The contract concluded in 2019 would cover several years and an amount of three million euros.
A client of Nicolas Sarkozy's office
Nicolas Sarkozy would have already received a payment of 500,000 euros under this contract, in early 2020, still according to Mediapart.
Reso Garantia, founded in 1991, is one of the leading insurance companies in Russia, specializing in auto / motorcycle insurance, with more than 34,000 agents in this country and 11 million clients.
In 2007, the French insurer AXA entered into an agreement with the shareholders of Reso Garantia to acquire a 36.7% stake in this company for approximately 810 million euros.
According to Mediapart, AXA is a major client of the Realyze law firm, co-founded in 1987 by Nicolas Sarkozy.
Solicited, the entourage of the former head of state or his lawyer Me Thierry Herzog did not respond immediately to AFP.
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