Newspaper Mediapart on February 11, has published a new investigation about the links of Alexander Benalla, a former adviser to the President of the Macron, with the Russian oligarchs. In 2018 Benalla became an intermediary (and beneficiary) at the conclusion of three contracts for security services of a Russian oligarch Iskander Makhmudov and Farhad Ahmadov totaling 2.2 million euros, now says Mediapart. The first contract, Makhmudov, on which the magazine reported on January 31, was signed with the participation of Benalla to his dismissal from the presidential administration. Details high-profile investigations and scandal — RFI material.
A new investigation on February 11 Mediapart publishes under the title “Russian millions Alexandra Benalla”. The publication cites new evidence of personal involvement of the former adviser of the Makron to the contract negotiations between Iskander Makhmudov, and the French security firm. About the contract in the amount of 294 thousand Euro Mediapart learned in December 2018, and 31 January in the preceding investigation is directly tied him with Alexander Benally. During contract negotiations in the spring and summer of last year Benalla was a member of the presidential administration of France. The publication cites new evidence of personal involvement of the ex-the adviser to the deal.
In the Wake of the publication of the national financial Prosecutor’s office of France launched an investigation into the French contract Makhmudov. About the case opened on charges of corruption, it became known on Friday, 8 February.
Now Mediapart reported on two other contracts with the Russian oligarchs, with the participation of Benalla, but after his dismissal from the Elysee Palace on July 23 last year. This is the second contract for security services Mahmudov, concluded last October in the amount of 980 thousand euros. And in December signed a similar contract (also for 980 thousand euros) with another Russian oligarch, Farhad Ahmadov.
In total, as a member of the presidential administration, and also after the controversial dismissal, Benalla acted as a facilitator and beneficiary of the contracts with the Russian oligarchs in the amount of 2.2 million euros, says Mediapart. And also gives evidence that some of this money was personally received Benallou, including through a company registered in Morocco.
Mediapart, believes that “Russian trace” in the large “thing Benalla” is not just a financial scandal. We are talking about national security, as suggested by the co-author of the investigation Fabrice ARFI, who commented on the new revelations on air of TV channel BFM TV.
Fabrice ARFI: “We are dealing with a man who was at the very core of the administration of the President of the Republic, was Deputy Director of the office of the President, and who is financially dependent on oligarch close to the President of the Russian Federation — and this, for a moment, none other than Vladimir Putin — and this oligarch many investigators of the European countries suspected of having links with the Russian mafia. It is definitely a matter of extreme importance”.
What is currently known about “dangerous relationships” by Alexander Benalla with the Russian oligarchs of the investigation Mediapart, two of which were published in the last week and a half?
Back in December 2018 Mediapart reported on the contract that Iskander Makhmudov, owner of “Ural mining and metallurgical company” have concluded for the protection of their property and family members in France and Monaco. The contract was signed with the French company Mars, which received 28 June from the Russian oligarch 294 thousand euros. The owner of the company was a former employee of the gendarmerie Vincent KrAZ responsible for safety in the party of the President of Macron “Go Republic!”.
The name of the KrAZ long ago figured in the controversial case of former presidential adviser Benalla. Both of them were under investigation in the case of the use of force against participants of the demonstration on 1 may in Paris. The scandal erupted last July when the newspaper Le Monde published a video in which Benalla police helmet beaten by demonstrators. Near him depicted Vincent KrAZ. The Prosecutor’s office opened a criminal case under the articles and the use of violence and assignment of functions to officials. Benalla fired from the presidential administration on July 23. At the same time work in the party of Makron lost and Vincent KrAZ.
In the “case Benalla”, the French Senate created a special investigative Commission. In the fall against former approximate Macron had filed another case, when it became clear that Benalla after retirement continued to use diplomatic passports for travel to Africa and meetings with local leaders.
January 21 this year, the Senate Commission called for Benalla explanation for all these cases. The senators asked him about the contract between Makhmudov and KrAZ. Benalla under oath stated that it had no relation to whatever was on the contracts of his friend and colleague.
January 31, Mediapart published a new investigation under the heading “Business Benalla-Makron: records that change everything.” The edition published caught in his possession a taped conversation between Bisalloy and KrAZ. The conversation took place on 26 July 2018, when both were already under investigation and had no right to meet. In this conversation Mediapart found two important things.
The first concerns the relationship Benalla and the French President, who — if you believe conversation does not suffer from a monstrous scandal. A former adviser continued to receive support in the immediate environment of the Macron.
Second, the record raised doubt about the innocence of Benalla to the contract between KAP and Makhmudov. The interlocutors discussed the problems encountered with this agreement, and the possibility of salvation to “the customer is not affected”.
Before the meeting, the Bank Société générale, where Mars was the expense, demanded Vincent KrAZ to explain the arrival of almost 300 thousand euros from Monaco and provide a contract.
Another problem was the behavior of the security company Velours, which Mars made by the contractor for direct work under contract with Makhmudov. The user Velours feared for his reputation after learning from the media about the “may day” the scandal involving Benalla and KrAZ. The firm demanded to change the terms of the transaction with the intermediary.
In conversation, published by Mediapart, Benalla has offered to renew on Mars frontman, KrAZ said: “it is Necessary that you disappeared from this office”. The interlocutors were very concerned about the possible focus of the investigation to the firm Mars.
In the end, according to Mediapart, in October for work, Makhmudov established a new firm France Close Protection, registered at the same legal address as Mars. It was headed by a friend Benalla, retired military Yoann Petit (Petit Yoann). He Benalla became an employee of that company, where he was laid wages 12 474 Euro, Mediapart reported in late January.
In the same investigation, the newspaper told about the acquaintance and meetings (with photo attachment) Benalla with a French partner Makhmudov, businessman Jean-Louis Genauerem (Jean-Louis Haguenauer). The latter told reporters that the adviser to the President personally “appointed” KrAZ to do a deal with the Russian oligarch. Contract negotiations began in the winter of 2017, told Mediapart.
Posting a recorded conversation Benalla and KrAZ, the newspaper brought the scandal around the former approximate Macron to a new level, but put yourself on the line. The Prosecutor’s office opened a case of interference in private life and illegal use of technical means of listening. The police even made a failed attempt to search the office.
Journalists have continued to collect new evidence.
11 Feb new facts were presented in the material “the Russian millions Alexandra Benalla”.
Journalists Mediapart decided finally to talk to the head of the security firm Velours Jean-Maurice Bernard. A former policeman who worked in the Department for combating banditry, spoke about how he became a contractor for the contract for the protection of Makhmudov. He said that in the beginning of 2018 Benalla (then Deputy President’s office) called to offer him the order. On 11 February in an interview with BFM TV Bernard repeated.
Jean-Maurice Bernard: “In March Benalla called us to say that his friend is looking for a serious private security company to work with. He asked whether we agree to meet. In March we appointed a meeting in the cafe “Damascus” on the Rue du Colosseum, close to the Elysee Palace. At this meeting were Alexander Benalla, it came and Vincent KrAZ”.
CEO Velours Mediapart reported that at the meeting he was asked to protect a wealthy foreigner, his family and property in France. TV channel BFM TV Bernard said that the name of Makhmudov heard immediately, personally, never met him, since all connections provided Vincent KrAZ and his firm Mars. During the negotiations, held several meetings, which were attended by Benalla — insists Bernard. According to him, the presidential adviser also recommended specific people, ex-military, who had to work as a bodyguards of a Russian billionaire.
The contract between the intermediary and the contractor was signed on 25 June. Three days later the firm received from Mars Makhmudov from Monaco 294 thousand euros. Company Velours have listed only 172 thousand. Profit for the contractor was not more than 15%, but “Commission” of the company Carasa was 40% (!) of the contract amount, says Mediapart.
When at the end of July “thing Benalla” has become a scandal on a national scale, the firm Velours demanded of breach of contract, which could damage its reputation. But, according to Bernard, Counsellor, Macron in August and September, he twice asked him to continue work on the protection of Mahmudov and to keep the deal secret.
On the day of publication of a new investigation Mediapart’and Jean-Maurice Bernard explained why in the end decided on frankness. Live BFM TV he said he believes the behavior of Benalla and cars, their silence and unwillingness to admit to anything and explain anything — betrayal. Your main concern former policeman called save the reputation of his own company.
Jean-Maurice Bernard: “for seven months we keep silent. In recent days, revelations are coming one after the other. Gentlemen (Benalla and KrAZ) was accused of violating judicial control. These revelations along the way, destroy the career. This is incredible. What made me to be here today before you, in front of the cameras… Is that the main participants in the case who were supposed to speak, and did so whenever the disclosure is silent for 10 days. We do not hear them or their lawyers. For me at stake is the fate of my enterprise, the future of my employees. At some point, still need to be answered, to take a position and tell how it is”.
On this new evidence of personal involvement Benalla to the conclusion of the first contract, Makhmudov Mediapart has not stopped.
In its latest investigation, the publication has tracked the activities of the company France Close Protection, created on October 2, and related Advisor to the Makron. The firm, headed initially by Joanna Petit has a single shareholder, the 18-year-old resident of Normandy, his native region Benalla.
Last fall, France Close Protection has signed a contract with Makhmudov on the amount of 980 thousand euros. Almost 300 thousand went to this firm, which became the new facilitator in protecting the interests of the Russian billionaire in France. Tens of thousands of euros were paid personally Benalla for some “services”, which are former adviser to the Macron refused to explain upon request Mediapart.
Finally, in December the contract for another 980 thousand — France Close Protection signed with another Russian oligarch, Farhad Ahmadov, a former Senator and ex-owner of the company “Northgas” (worth over $ 1 billion according to Forbes).
The first payment under the contract — 353 thousand Euro was transferred to the account of the company Instra Conseil. As claimed by Mediapart, the company was registered in Morocco on 2 November … personally by Alexander Benally!
The French newspaper recalls that Mahmoud and Ahmed made by the U.S. Treasury in the so-called “Putin’s list”: there are 200 names of influential Russians (114 96 officials and oligarchs) , which can threaten the us sanctions. Mediapart notes that the press service Akhmedov on the request publication gave a laconic reply — “no comment.” To deny a contract with France Close Protection oligarch did not.
Contracts with Russian billionaires involving Alexander Benalla, exorbitant fees, the money ex-adviser of Macron received personally — all this forces journalists to think about what the speech in this case is not talking about pure business and sales of security services. Perhaps it is a reward for very different services? In an interview with BFM TV, co-author of the investigation Fabrice ARFI gently had, at the same time Recalling the life of luxury tycoon Makhmudov in France.
Fabrice ARFI: “it is Clear that Iskander Makhmudov significant property interests in France. He has an excellent gigantic castle in the Sologne, the hunting grounds, in the South of France, in Ramatuelle, he has a huge Villa. It has interests in Monaco, where his family — his wife and children. He ALREADY has a personal guard. What to change, if not in order to penetrate in some way to the Elysee Palace and the presidential party “Go Republic!” (as Benalla and KrAZ work together). Negotiations (under contract) was conducted with the participation of Benalla with the mediation of living in Russia, Frenchman Jean-Louis Haguenauer. He is ’connected’, representing the Makhmudov in this case. Of course, we can talk about bait (to attract Benalla). But we also see a full ’atrophy’ in control of the Elysee Palace. Alexander Benalla was not obliged to submit a Declaration of their financial interests. I think here there is an obvious failure (the state). In front of us, privy to the secrets of the presidential administration, which contracts with (Russian) billionaire, close (to power). Iskander Makhmudov’s not a minor oligarch!”
In the so-called “business Benalla” seem to have not put the final point. 7 Feb filed in the resignation of the head of the security service of Prime Minister of France. Divisional Commissioner Marie-Elodie Poitou took this difficult decision against the background of rumors that the controversial July conversation Benalla and KrAZ was recorded at her home. In addition, Mediapart reported that the companion Poitou, gendarme commando, Shokri Wakrim was among the bodyguards who worked under contract for the protection of Makhmudov.
It also became known about the imminent resignation of a close Advisor of French President Ismael! (Ismaël Emelien), whom the press calls the “brain” of the Elysee Palace. All in the same scandalous records already under investigation Benalla reports that Emilien has continued to support and advise on media relations in a very delicate situation.