Published on 16 November 2016

Bernard Squarcini, ever the business intelligence supporting role player

Bernard Squarcini

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.

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FRANCE Document 16/11/2016

Episode 1 - Hermes/LVMH: tactical support for Bernard Arnault’s silk scarf war Free

On the basis of his own records, one of the affairs which most involved Bernard Squarcini after – and perhaps [...]

CONGO-B FRANCE 16/11/2016

Episode 2 - Congo B: surveillance of opponents for a president under siege

Well before he went private, Bernard Squarcini was already a close observer of Central Africa. He has many contacts there [...]

Episode 3 - Kazakhstan : Paid to track down the president’s enemies

At the end of 2013, Bernard Squarcini joined the American business intelligence company Arcanum Global Intelligence (IOL 690), which put [...]

Episode 4 - Dmitri Rybolovlev : reconnaissance missions for a litigious oligarch

Apart from Kazakhstan, Arcanum brought Bernard Squarcini another client in the form of Russian oligarch Dmitri Rybolovlev, who amassed a [...]

CONGO-B FRANCE TOGO 16/11/2016

Episode 5 - Pefaco: Arrangements with Africa’s last remaining Corsican godfathers

One of the three reasons for the search carried out at Bernard Squarcini’s offices in April 2016, just as for [...]

Episode 6 - Fabien Baussart: high speed due diligence

On April 6 2013, Bernard Squarcini sent a text message to Patrick Calvar, who was his number two at the [...]

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