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CORPORATE INTELLIGENCE - Published on 16/11/2016
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Bernard Squarcini, ever the business intelligence supporting role player

Bernard Squarcini, the Mr. Fix-it of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and former head of the French domestic intelligence service (DCRI, now DGSI), has also worked in the business sector. He is less at ease, however, among the high-rise office blocks of Paris’s La Defense business district than in the Corsican restaurants of the French capital. He has nevertheless found himself involved in nearly all the major battles among the leading European business groups in recent years. His political connections are currently being gone through with a fine-tooth comb by examining magistrates Serge Tournaire and Aude Buresi (see here and here - french articles). On September 28, they charged him with breaching secrecy of classified information, peddling influence and misappropriating public funds. But his activities as a business investigator have until now remained out of the spotlight. Documents seized on April 8 by officers from the French central anti-corruption and financial and fiscal crime office (OCLCIFF) at his Paris home, however, read like an inventory of all the major battles involving the European business intelligence sector.
The police found documents referring to French luxury goods group LVMH, its competitor Hermes, Congo-Brazzaville, utility giant Veolia and even oligarch Dmitri Rybolovlev. These are all pieces of a jigsaw puzzle which have less to do with court action and Bernard Squarcini’s own career path than with the battles fought through intermediaries by Europe’s wealthy families, African leaders and oligarchs in exile. The court battles are often only the visible part of these almighty power struggles. A multitude of private consultants work in the shadows to keep the legal procedures moving forward. The same parties work more discreetly, however, to assist the leading European business groups with their development plans and to inform foreign leaders and the wealthy about the affairs which threaten them. To keep their clients supplied with information, these professional intelligence operators draw on the services of an armada of sub-contractors, among whom Bernard Squarcini was often to be found even though he clearly found it difficult to match the professional standards of those who employed him. In the course of his short career as a business intelligence investigator, he continued to use the same unencrypted gmail address and kept all his most confidential documents in a cupboard in his home in breach of the most elementary confidentiality rules.
The affairs in which he was involved give a relatively complete idea of the range of situations dealt with by professional business intelligence bodies – support services in battles between companies, lobbying for foreign states, inside information on legal cases, information on business partners and so on.

(7 articles)
Bernard Squarcini | Nicolas Sarkozy | DCRI | DGSI | Serge Tournaire |
Aude Buresi | anti-corruption and financial and fiscal crime office | LVMH | Hermes | Veolia |
Dmitri Rybolovlev

An all-new Intelligence Online coming January 25 Defence Geospatial Intelligence (DGI) - 23 - 25 January, 2017, QEII Centre, London
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