Iskandar Safa, who earned his nickname of Sandy during his youth as part of the Lebanese Christian militia, is an export agent who switched successfully to industry but who, in 2013, is still active as a business intermediary. As an industrialist, he reigns over a veritable shipbuilding empire which produces yachts and patrol boats. He has owned Constructions mécaniques de Normandie (CMN) in Cherbourg, France, since 1992 but, in 2007, moved up a size by setting up Abu Dhabi Mar shipyard with Al Ain International. Since then, he has bought industrial concerns all over the world.

As an export consultant, his speciality is the United Arab Emirates. French naval defence group DCNS called him in in 2003 to negotiate a contract for weapons system for six corvettes built by CMN for the Emirates. He also played an active role there in plans to revive a contract for Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft in 2010. He was involved, too, in the sale of two German TKMS corvettes to Algeria in April 2012 and, prior to the change in regime in Libya, had direct access to Muammar Gaddafi via his son Saif Al Islam Gaddafi.

All these activities have their origins in his native Lebanon. Privinvest, the personal holding company which runs all his companies, is based in Beirut and, in all his different activities, business, political and family relations are intertwined.

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