Lightning Washington: why the Frenchman Jean-Pierre Thomas “left” of “RUSAL”

French businessman Jean-Pierre Thomas not held the post of Chairman of the Board of Directors of “RUSAL”. Following the removal of U.S. sanctions with the aluminium assets of oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s RUSAL has announced the resignation of Tom’s “urgent” requirement of the Americans. The Frenchman joined the Board of Directors of “RUSAL” in June last year, when Deripaska was making desperate efforts to obtain the lifting of sanctions. It seems that the choice of the oligarch, which was somewhat unexpected for the French media, Americans are not staged. Than did not please Washington a longtime friend of ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy?

26 days at the head of “RUSAL”

27 January the United States announced the lifting of sanctions against En+ and “EvroSibEnergo” and “RUSAL”, Oleg Deripaska, has significantly reduced its stake in owning these companies. The office for foreign assets control of the U.S. Treasury (OFAC) also reported the execution of the other conditions — updates of the boards of Directors of companies that fall under the sanctions in the spring of 2018. Washington received assurances that “the majority of Directors on the boards of En+ and RUSAL will be independent, including American and European persons who have business, professional or family ties to Deripaska,” said the US Treasury.

A few hours later, “RUSAL” has informed about the resignation of its Chairman of the Board of Directors, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Thomas. He “received from the office of foreign assets control, the imperative to leave his post”, which the US called a “pre-condition for lifting the sanctions against the company”. “Sir Tom in the interests of the company adopted this requirement and resigned (…) from 26 January 2019” — quoted by France-Presse statement of “RUSAL”. Simultaneously it became known that the Board of Directors of the left — in a move — and another Frenchman Philippe Bernard, Henri Malfi (Philippe Bernard Henri Mailfait).

The Savior is a loser

What the United States could not make the candidacy of Jean-Pierre Thomas? In June last year, he was elected to the Board of Directors of “RUSAL” as an independent non-Executive Director. Then the decision to the media due to the desire Deripaska to fulfill all the conditions for lifting the sanctions. The oligarch has withdrawn from the management of their own business, changing the course of the leadership team. Jean-Pierre Thomas looked like one of compromise and independent figures, which can satisfy Washington. More recently (in late Dec) about the same wrote to the newspaper Le Monde in an article about elected Tom Chairman of the Board of Directors of “RUSAL” (a post he has held since 1 January). The Frenchman was replaced at the head of the Council of German Matthias Warnig, a former employee of “Stasi” (state security service of the GDR), who is considered a longtime acquaintance of President Vladimir Putin.

Jean-Pierre Thomas needs to “stabilize the situation” group “RUSAL” and confidently wrote Le Monde, linking it to the appointment with the desire Deripaska “to avoid thunder and lightning out of Washington.” Business French editions were also confident that the emergence of the Frenchman in the management of “RUSAL” — the answer to the demands of the Americans and part of a plan to escape sanctions.

Soon the “thunder and lightning” from the ocean were struck by the very “Savior”, who left his post as suddenly as it appeared.

“Intimate knowledge”

Perhaps the secret of these “miraculous transformations” that the Americans are carefully and meticulously studied the biography of Jean-Pierre Toma, and publications about him in the French press.

Failed “Savior Deripaska” — an old friend of ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy, who in 2011 appointed him as his special representative for the development of economic ties with Russia. In a letter to the then President of the Russian Federation, “dear Dmitry” (Medvedev), Sarkozy stressed that Jean-Pierre Thomas enjoys his “full trust” and “respect in French economic circles” and “close/deep (the letter used the adjective intime = letters. intimate) familiar with French and Russian economic circles, which has been working for years.”

With questions of this “intimacy” in early 2012, the details figured out publication L Obs. Famous expert of Franco-Russian “behind the scenes” journalist Vincent Gower wrote with a colleague Odile, Benaya Guider article “the strange “Mr. Russia” Nicolas Sarkozy”. In it, by the way, for the first time cited a letter to Sarkozy’s “friend Dmitry” and describes in detail a very remarkable destiny Jean-Pierre Thomas, which is called Deripaska his “friend.”

“Strange, Monsieur.”

Here’s a brief reminder of the facts which may have forced Americans to think about “independence” and “crystal” reputation of the Frenchman. Tom is a former politician, a right centrist who is familiar with Sarkozy since 1980-ies. Both belonged to the younger generation of the French right, which received sustained and eloquent nickname “young wolves”. Only as for ambition, audacity, ruthlessness and acumen (by the way, Tom is an avid hunter, so Russia has for him a special attraction).

The French Parliament (1993-1997), Jean-Pierre Thomas was the Treasurer of the Republican party, which later merged into the main Union of French right-wing “Union for a popular movement” (the current “Republicans”).

The “financial work” turned into a criminal case and sentence of a year and three months probation for illegal financing of political parties. It was a question of “banal” in the past French practice: extorting money from companies that received orders from local authorities. “Kickbacks” went largely to the party funds. Tom “caught” by the “party racket” of companies that won contracts for repairs of school buildings.

Probation put an end to the political career of Tom, who went into business. He was managing partner of one of the largest investment banks Lazard. At the time, the Bank said the publication L Obs that Tom has not responded to Lazard for the Russian direction (as was stated by the Sarkozy administration), and was just a partner of one of the branches of the investment giant.

Then he created his own Agency asset management and consulting Thomas Vendôme Investments. As recalled by Le Monde, Jean-Pierre Thomas was also part of the management of a small French company in the recycling of metal and plastic Recylex (ex-Metaleurop).

The post economic speciesare in Russia Jean-Pierre Thomas was officially appointed with the global challenge of creating a single EU market and Russia. Publication L Obs did not rule out that the real purpose of his mission was more pragmatic and down to earth.

After coming to power in France of socialist Francois Hollande Tom lost his post of presidential envoy and “emerged” in the news only in connection with the advent of “RUSAL”. But steer leading aluminum Corporation he was not given.

The machinations of the United States against Paris?

However, the right-wing paper Le Figaro believes: Jean-Pierre Thomas “sacrificed” American appetites and the willingness of the US to “strengthen its influence on the Board of Directors of “RUSAL””. The departure of the two Frenchmen from the Board frees additional space for the Americans, the newspaper writes.

Americans demand the resignation of Tom’s newspaper calls “unexpected,” claiming that last June the Frenchman joined the company Deripaska with the “consent of the U.S. Treasury”. This statement, however, needs to be tested. Whether such consent is obtained from the United States, is unknown.

In comments to Le Figaro himself Jean-Pierre Thomas does not outraged, saying that first approved and then got kicked out. He just said that he “had no choice but to obey American demands.”

Of course, in the interests of the company and its future. Under the sanctions, “RUSAL were not allowed to develop only to fulfil the contracts already signed on temporal resolution,” said a former adviser to Sarkozy. If the sanctions are not lifted, no major company would dare to work with “RUSAL”. Now, maintaining a heavy period, its turnover and profit, the aluminum giant will be able to develop, quoted by Le Figaro, Jean-Pierre Thomas.

It turns out that after all the “saved” derepaskin business brave Frenchman? Though not quite as expected…
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