France Investigation

How Sarkozy's former spy chief worked on behalf of Kazakhstan

On Wednesday March 4th, France’s top appeal court ruled that billionaire Kazakh opposition politician and former banker Mukhtar Ablyazov could be extradited over an alleged six-billion-euro fraud. Meanwhile, behind the scenes in this complex affair, a mysterious website has revealed a mass of emails hacked from Kazakhstan leaders. They reveal that Bernard Squarcini, who was the head of France's domestic intelligence agency under President Nicolas Sarkozy, has worked as a consultant on behalf of the Kazakh authorities in relation to the Ablyazov affair. Talking to Mediapart, Squarcini admits the Kazakh government is a client of the firm he works for and that he has worked on the case, but denies claims that he tried to “infiltrate” Ablyazov's team of lawyers and supporters. Agathe Duparc reports on this murky affair.

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Nicolas Sarkozy's former spy chief has been working on behalf of the Kazakhstan government in its bitter battle against one of that country's leading political opponents, Mediapart can reveal. Bernard Squarcini, who headed France's domestic intelligence agency, the Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (DCRI), from 2007 to 2012, is a senior advisor for a global intelligence agency hired by the Kazak authorities to help in the so-called Ablyazov affair. This involves attempts by Kazakhstan's allies Russia and Ukraine to seek the extradition from France of former banker and billionaire Kazakh opposition politician Mukhtar Ablyazov over an alleged banking fraud.

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