Soros, France and the War on Africa: Transparent Imperialism [Part 2]
GEARÓID Ó COLMÁIN
He’s probably France’s most famous lawyer.
Known to the public as an “avocat engagé” and “left-wing”, William Bourdon (pictured below) has defended many high-profile clients: Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Colonel Gaddafi, among others. He is the former Secretary General of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), an adviser to Transparency International and the founder of Sherpa, a non-profit organization which claims to expose corporate malpractice throughout the world.
In recent years, Bourdon has spearheaded a campaign against several African leaders who are suspected of having acquired properties in France through embezzlement of public funds in their respective countries. Denis Sassou Nguesso, the President of Congo Brazzaville; the president of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba; and the President of Equatorial Guinea Theodore Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and his son have all been accused of acquiring French properties illegally. In France, it is called the ‘affaire des biens mal acquis’.
But no evidence has of yet been shown to prove any of the allegations. Furthermore, even if the accused had acquired the properties illegally, the French state does not have the authority to interfere in the internal affairs of other sovereign states.
However, that basic principle of international law is haughtily ignored by the media outlets who regularly portray William Bourdon as a great defender of moral probity and social justice. But what if the ‘affaire de bien mal acquis’ was really part of a carefully-orchestrated regime change operation?
Bourdon is under investigation for corruption
According to a Canard Enchainée report and documents seen by this author, on June 29, 2015, France’s National Bureau of Financial Investigation (Direction Nationale d’Enquêtes Fiscales, DNEF) revealed that Mister Bourdon had opened an account with Standard Chartered Bank in Brunei on 10 October 2011 under the name of Amendis Group Stand.
There is a company called Amendis based in Morocco, which is a branch of Veolia Environment S.A, a French transnational company specializing in water management, waste management, and energy services. It is unclear whether the Amendis account in China is the same company.
On 4 April 2012, 865,841 USD was lodged in the account by HKI Infrastructure, a company based in Barbados. The transaction was made by First Caribbean International Bank. Zuaiter Abbas Farouq (pictured) is the name of the man who made the transfer. Farouq was a Palestinian businessman who sat on the Board of Management of the Soros Fund Management. Farouq was one of the most important oligarchs of the Palestinian economy and is believed to have run many “charities.” HKI Infrastructure is most likely to be the Helen Keller International fund, which operates throughout the third world to treat blindness. Why would a charitable organization run by a Soros operative be funding the off-shore account of a high-profile French lawyer?
On 15 December 2011, Mister Farouq added 3,547,157 USD to Bourdon’s account from the same HKI fund.
On 21 May 2013, Mister Bourdon’s Amendis Group Stand account received 50,000 USD from Cairo Poultry from China Merchants Bank in Shanghai. The depositor’s name was Ahmed Gaddafi Eddam, a cousin of the former Libyan leader.
Mister Bourdon opened another account in Hangzhou China on 20 September, 2014, where 6,792,102 USD was placed.
DNEF officials believe Mr. Bourdon’s foreign bank accounts could be part of an international conspiracy to destabilize certain Gulf and African states.
Libération newspaper did its best to reassure its readers that the DNEF’s investigations were ridiculous and that no such bank accounts ever existed. When the Canard Enchainée article appeared, Mr. Bourdon said he would sue for defamation. But thus far he has failed to do so. Instead, the French lawyer seems to have been more concerned with finding out how the DNEF leak happened.
Bourdon regularly dismisses the rumors about his foreign bank accounts as being a consequence of the US Government’s hostility towards him due to his defense of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. But Wikileaks has rarely, if ever, exposed the illegal activities of the powerful Israeli Lobby in the United States, nor of the Israeli spy agencies operating in the United States at “terrifying” levels according to US officials. Webster Tarpley was perhaps correct when he described WikiLeaks and the Edward Snowden affairs as “limited hangouts”- intelligence operations which often conceal as much as they reveal. Wikileaks is a useful and indispensable tool. But it is not a moral compass; it should be treated with caution.
It is well known that George Soros and US regime change agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) are operating all over Africa. From Y-en-a-Marre in Senegal and Lucha in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Soros and NED civil society organizations capture the frustration of Africa’s poor, unemployed youth and use it as a battering ram to break down states who are not fully in compliance with US foreign policy objectives.
But who are the principal actors involved in Bourdon’s network? Which regimes are being targeted and why?
Bourdon’s clients are Bolloré’s enemies
In 2013, Mediapart published a report claiming that former French president Nicolas Sarkozy had received funds from Colonel Gaddafi to finance his 2007 election campaign. At the same time, French businessman Jacques Dupuydauby (pictured) had initiated legal proceedings in the Paris Court against Vincent Bolloré whom he accused of bribing officials in several African ports, including Misrata in Libya where Dupuyduaby’s logistics company Progosa was evicted in favor of Bolloré African Logistics.
Now Bolloré’s enemies want to make a link between Sarkozy’s crimes in Libya and the activities of the Bolloré Group. Mediapart have been particularly favorable to Dupuydauby’s case but have ignored basic and important information about his criminal record.
In 2011, the government of Guinea under newly-elected Alpha Condé ordered Getma International, a subsidiary of NCT Necotrans, to leave the port of Conakry (see map below). The government of Guinea had given the contract to Getma in 2008 on the agreement that it would invest in the expansion of the port facilities. They were supposed to have completed the project in two years. However, two years after they had signed the contract with the government, no construction had occurred. As the company had not honored the agreement, the government ejected Getma and gave the contract to the company which had come second in the original bid: Bolloré African Logistics (BAL).
For a developing country such as Guinea, a two-year delay in the development of its port is completely unacceptable. The entire development plan for the economy depended on the investment in the port. They needed to act quickly and they did; it would have been irresponsible for the Guinean government to make another call for offers; they need to act quickly and they did. Bolloré was only in second place for the concession of the container terminal, not the entire port. When the director of the port of Conakry, Sory Camera, told President Alpha Condé they were going to give Bolloré the entire port, he was furious. He rang Vincent Bolloré and gave him an ultimatum to develop the facilities immediately.
The Guinean government is developing local manufacturing industry and inter-African trade, and the Bolloré Group’s subsidiary Camrail are also building railways. So why is Bolloré being accused of corruption?
During the election campaign of 2010, Bolloré’s media subsidiary Havas was contracted to cover Guinean presidential candidate Alpha Conde’s election campaign. But the company only charged 100,000 euros instead of 800,000, with Vincent Bolloré paying the difference. It is a practice which used to be legal in Europe until recently, and is still the norm in Africa. Were it not the for overwhelming influence of occult finance in setting the agendas of French politics, the affair would be of no consequence.
Vincent Bolloré has argued that his company needs stability and continuity if it is to invest heavily in Africa. A major problem for the development of the continent has been to secure reliable investors. It is the reason why the Chinese are beating all their competitors. If France is to carve out space for itself in the 21st century, a developed Francophonie is essential. Bolloré is one of the few French oligarchs to have understood this, and he has powerful enemies both in Europe and the United States.
Since taking over the port, BAL has invested heavily in state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure, significantly increasing the volume of trade in the Guinean economy. The partnership with BAL has been highly beneficial to the local economy. Local businessmen say BAL has brought international standards to the management of the port, reducing corruption. The company also has a policy of encouraging different ethnicities to work together in order to promote social harmony.
From reading the French press, one would have the impression that Bolloré controls not only the port but the entire country. In fact, there is stiff competition from China and Turkey. In 2016, the Turkish company Albayrak won a 25-year concession to manage the port. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the country to sign a raft of new bilateral trade and security agreements. A new air route joining Conakry with Istanbul has been opened. President Conde has said he sees Turkey as a model for his country to follow. The Turkish government donated 50 buses for the city of Conakry. The Turks hope to increase trade with Guinea from $64 million to $500 million.
Defense agreements with Turkey will worry Paris and Washington. It is perhaps one of the reasons why the Western-backed opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo denounced the expansion of Turkish and Chinese influence in the country.
The development of the eastern part of the Port of Conakry was given to the Chinese Chian Harbour Engineering Company in 2016. As I’ve argued before, Turkey is an emerging empire with a rapidly expanding presence in Africa. Although a client regime of the United States and member of NATO, Turkey has moved closer to the Eurasian geopolitical sphere in recent years, and Ankara is in disagreement with Washington and Paris due to their pro-Kurdish policy in Syria.
With an army said to be stronger than that of France and Germany combined, Turkey’s presence in West Africa is a major strategic threat to French interests.
Alpha Condé may be a “friend” of Vincent Bolloré, but his oriental friends are far more important. As the French and Americans are losing to competitors, the “corruption” card is used against an increasingly independent African perfect. Bolloré could become collateral damage in the new scramble for Africa.
Bolloré African Logistics (BAL) has been present in the port of Lome, Togo since 2001. In 2009, after President Faure Gnassingbe was reelected, he gave the port concession to Bolloré, to the loss of Progosa, a Spanish firm whose CEO is Jacques Dupuydauby (pictured above). Bolloré is suspected of having used his communications subsidiary firm Havas to win favor with Gnassingbe by charging him a fraction of the normal cost. However, the Bolloré Group claim that they had been in the Port of Lomé (see map) many years before taking over the Havas company.
Dupuydauby’s law firm Progosa managed much of the business for Bolloré African Logistics in the port of Lomé. In 2011 he was arrested for embezzlement of BAL funds and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The day after a court hearing in Lomé in 2009, Dupuydauby rented a plane and dumped all of his files in the sea. He escaped to Spain but was condemned by a Spanish court in May 2016 to three years and 9 months in prison for fraud.
In spite of the fact that Dupuydauby is a convicted criminal, he is presented in the French media as a “rival” of Bolloré. The story of his long dossier of corruption and his well-deserved conviction in Lomé is never discussed. Instead, Mediapart, Bolloré’s “left-wing” enemy, promote Dupuydauby as a victim of Vincent Bolloré’s “corrupt” practices.
In order to dismiss Dupuydauby’s criminal record in Togo, an article from Grogne Afrique republished by Mediapart states that it is well-known that the separation of powers in Togo is an illusion, that judges are corrupt and the secret services run everything. But the same claim has been made about the French legal system by the judge Bernard Méry. Does that mean we should dismiss the entire French judicial system?
Also ignored in the French media is the fact that Dupuyduaby created a foundation in 2008 called Progosa Foundation for Africa, which was supposed to provide finance for poverty reduction. The Togolese government revealed that most of the money disappeared. Former French Minister for Overseas Territories Brigitte Girardin was appointed the director of the foundation. Poverty reduction proved to be a lucrative business. According to Togolese newspaper L’Union, Madame Girardin earned 45 million FCFA, or 68,000 Euro in just five months! Madame Girardin is a close collaborator of former French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin (pictured together).
The funds of Progosa International are apparently managed by Destra International, an American Asset management fund. The Progosa Foundation apparently no longer exists.
It is odd that Mediapart, which claims to be a left-wing anti-establishment newspaper, has not shown any interest in investigating Dupuydauby’s African “philanthropy.” William Bourdon is currently Dupuydauby’s lawyer.
The Black Sheep of the Republic
Another important French actor in Togolese and West African affairs is Loic Le Floch Prigent (pictured), the former director of ELF oil company. Le Floch Prigent was imprisoned for six months in 1996 for fraud and embezzlement of public funds in what became known as the Elf Affair. He has been repeatedly imprisoned for fraud since his release. In 2012 he was arrested in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and was transferred to Lomé, Togo where he was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for fraud. He was later released, apparently for medical reasons. The French government intervened to secure his release. Le Floch Prigent’s lawyer is William Bourdon.
On 10 March 2008 Abbas Yousef, an Emirati businessman was approached in the toilets of a palace in Dubai by a Nigerian called Mamadou Keita. Keita introduced Yousef to his mother Mounira Awa whom he presented as the widower of former Ivory Coast president Robert Guei. Madame Awa explained to the Emirati businessman that $275 million of her husband’s money had been blocked in an account of the Togolese Central Bank, and she wanted his help in transferring the money to her account in Ghana. Yousef contacted his consultant Loic Le Floch Prigent, who confirmed the veracity of Madame Awa’s story. Youssef agreed to advance 1.25 million for the transfer fees.
Le Floch Prigent organized a meeting in Lomé between Yousef and Sow Bertin Agba, a Togolese businessman who pretended to be the mandate of Robert Guei’s fortune as well as the Togolese Minister of the Interior. In order to convince Yousef that he was the Minister of the Interior, he conducted the Emirati to the office of Pascal Bodjona, the director of the cabinet of President Faure Ggassingbé. A few months later, Bertin Sow Agba told Youssef that he had resigned as Minister of the Interior to be replaced by Pascal Bodjona. Bodjona proceeded to transfer the funds to Ghana via the Togolese ambassador to that country, Jean Pierre Gbikpi Benissan.
After several months Abbas Youssef discovered he had been defrauded of $47 million.
He immediately sued Le Foch Prigent, Pascal Bodjona, Bertin Sow Agba and Jean Pierre Gbikpi Benissan for fraud. Bertin Sow Agba had already a serious criminal record. He was arrested in 1990 with a dead baby in a suitcase and had been implicated in numerous cases of money laundering and drug smuggling.
On 8 July 2014 Pascal Bodjona transferred 75,212 USD from the account of PAB Group in Nanyang Commercial Bank in Hong Kong to William Bourdon’s Chinese bank account.
Bodjona was released from prison on 6 February 2016, having only served 533 days of detention. A Radio France International (RFI) report states that the Saint Egidio organization played a key role in negotiating his release. The Saint Egidio community is a Catholic lay organization founded in 1968 as part of the Vatican II reforms. Its director is Andrea Ricardi, former Italian Minister for International Cooperation under the Mario Monti presidency. He is also a board member of the Chirac Foundation. A close collaborator with Pope Francis, much of Riccardi’s work involves promoting the heresies of Vatican II. He has contributed to conferences which accuse the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church of racism – an absurd accusation. Cardinal Sarah of Guinea, a staunch opponent of the Pope, would disagree.
The politically correct “conciliar” Church is causing havoc in Africa. Under the guise of a fake theory of liberation, the Conciliar Church is coming to the rescue of the most unscrupulous criminals.
As former Togolese Ambassador to the United States, Bodjona is well connected in Washington. In fact, his English language Wikipedia page doesn’t even mention his criminal record!
Loic Le Floch Prigent and lawyer Norbert Tricaud were both involved in the destabilization of the Republic of Congo in 2016. Tricaud has links with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US regime change organization which operates on behalf of the CIA. The French and US governments were instrumental in fomenting civil war in the country’s southern region of Pool.
In spite of his criminal record and a long history of kleptomania, Le Floch Prigent is still an important actor in French foreign policy in Africa. In his book ‘Black Sheep of the Republic’, he argues for a new French policy in Africa based on support for education. During the destabilization of the Republic of Congo, this Bourdon client’s role was to accuse Paris of supporting Sassou, against the democratic will of the people, when the French were, in fact, supporting the rebellion. No one ever accused Le Floch Prigent of being stupid.
Bertin Sow Agba is said to be well-connected in Ghana and apparently has a Ghanaian passport. Although Ghanaian President Nana Akouf-Addo is hailed as a champion of African independence, he is, in fact, a key player in pushing US interests in West Africa and he is being encouraged by globalist elites to pressure President Gassingbe of Togo to compromise with the criminal US-backed opposition.
Political stability has enabled Togo to diversify its geopolitical partnerships. A cogent example of how emerging powers in a multipolar world are competing for markets in Africa is Egypt’s investment in the country’s agriculture. Diversification of economic and defense partners is paramount to a developing country’s capacity for self-defense. Egypt is itself recovering from a failed US regime change operation in 2011. When the US government launched the Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative in 2004, the aim was not only to replace the North Africa regimes of the Cold War and install Muslim Brotherhood neo-liberal regimes, but to prevent the increasing African integration which had culminated in the second Afro-Arab summit held in Sirte, Libya in 2010. Globalists want to maintain Africa in a state of chronic underdevelopment so as to have access to cheap resources and labor. Togo’s increasing independence and alliances with emerging powers pose a threat to “human rights” imperialism.
The 2018 coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea
Africa’s only Spanish-speaking country, Equatorial Guinea has had spectacular economic growth over the last decade with an average of 17%. Since the discovery of oil in 1995, the government of Equatorial Guinea has used the money to build modern infrastructure. Over 30 % of the national budget is spent on social housing. The country has a high literacy rate and is rapidly developing its public health care with help from Cuba; it has almost eradicated malaria. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has been in power since 1979. This fact is probably the only thing you will read about the country in the international media – “Africa’s longest-reigning dictator,” etc.
But all serious political analysts know that continuity, stability, and economic development are priorities for developing countries. Ordinary workers do not want democracy; they want social hope. Equatorial Guinea has, under the leadership of Obiang, gone from a Third-World backwater to what many are now predicting could become the Singapore of Africa. If President Obiang is continually re-elected with over 95% of the vote, it is because the overwhelming majority of people in Equatorial Guinea are intelligent enough to understand that his leadership has something to do with the country’s success. Singapore made the transition from a third world to first world country under the three-decade leadership of Lee Kuan Yew.
Equatorial Guinea still has poverty and its political elites waste far too much money on expensive cars and luxury, but that is because the country is capitalist. In fact, if Obiang had been a socialist like Muammar Gaddafi – whose country had the highest level of equality in Africa – he’d be dead and the country would be overrun by Western-backed death squads.
The country’s Vice President Teodorin Nguema Obiang (pictured) has been accused by Bourdon of embezzling public funds, but not a shred of evidence has ever been produced to prove the claims. Obiang is a highly successful businessman who enjoys luxury holidays in Europe. But what the media ignore is that he also travels around the country distributing gifts to his people, including building materials for housing in poor villages. At Christmas, he has often personally delivered toys to thousands of the country’s children. A cynical attempt to buy support, you say? Perhaps. But it is far more than William Bourdon and his super wealthy friends have ever done for anyone.
Equatorial Guinea has decided to make French and Portuguese official languages along with Spanish. With new state-of-the-art capital in Oyala, the country has one of the best road networks in Africa, Equatorial Guinea has social hope. It also has powerful enemies in the world of pirate capitalism.
In 2004, Mark Thatcher, the son of the former British Prime Minister, was part of an international conspiracy to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea by a military coup. The plotters had the backing of the United States and the European Union. The coup was organized by Simon Mann, a British national living in South Africa. But the Equatorial Guinean government was informed of the plans by South African intelligence, and the mercenaries were arrested and imprisoned in Zimbabwe, where they were given life sentences.
In January 2018, another coup was attempted, but the mercenaries were arrested in Chad. President Idris Deby Itno of Chad is one of the few long-term leaders who has been most loyal to French imperialism. As recent French airstrikes to protect the regime in Djamena against rebels show, Idris Deby is a key asset of Franco-American policing of the Sahel-Sahara region. But Chad is also the base of destabilization operations in West Africa. After the 2018 coup, the Government of Equatorial Guinea accused France and Chad of collaborating in the organization of the coup. For now, Deby is still praised by the French media, but if he ever steps out of line, he too will be called a “brutal dictator”.
In January 2019, the Government of Equatorial Guinea issued an international mandate for the arrest of William Bourdon and Daniel Lebègue on charges of terrorism. According to the defense lawyers of the state of Equatorial Guinea, Daniel Lebègue has companies in the country.
On 27 March 2014, 226,307 USD were transferred by Transafrica Capital to William Bourdon’s off-shore account. Transafrica Capital is owned by South African arms dealer Ivor Ichikowitz, who is also the president of Paramount Group, the biggest arms company in Africa.
Ichikowitz claims his company only deals with sovereign states and not “questionable entities.”
The Equatorial Guinean Government has stated it has proof Bourdon and Lebegue were involved in financing the attempted coup. The story should have made front-page news, given the high-profile of Bourdon and the fact that Le Canard Enchainée had already revealed that the French fiscal authorities were investigating his offshore bank accounts financed by Soros.
Bourdon has used the French justice system to claim that property owned by Teodor Obiang and his son in Paris were acquired through money siphoned off from the Equatorial Guinean Government. As we have already pointed out, the president and his son have always denied the charges and no evidence has ever been produced to back up Bourdon’s claims. Even if the claims were true, the French judiciary does not have the right to mingle in the affairs of other sovereign states.
However, we should bear in mind that in terms of current imperial praxis, Bourdon’s alleged involvement in terrorism is not particularly shocking. In 2002, Senior British diplomat Robert Cooper wrote:
‘The challenge to the postmodern world is to get used to the idea of double standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old-fashioned kinds of states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era – force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth-century world of every state for itself. Among ourselves, we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle.’
It is a new “transparent” form of imperialism whose vanguard is the NGO and whose rallying cry is human rights and democracy. In France, the chief motor of aggression against Equatorial Guinea is being fueled by the Trotskyists associated with Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
As Lenin said: “Trotsky unites all those to whom ideological decay is dear; all who are not concerned with the defense of Marxism.”
As we have never failed to point out, Mélenchon supported the carpet bombing of Libya and if Bourdon and his minions ever manage to organize a “spontaneous uprising” against a “dictator killing his own people”, Serge Dassault’s favorite leftist won’t hesitate to applaud.
Several high-profile lawyers in France have stated that the activities of Bourdon are a flagrant and disgraceful violation of international law. Bourdon, Le Floch Prigent, Dupuydauby, Bodjona and the media outlets covering up their illegal activities are all part of the “questionable entities” of globalization where NGOs, occult finance and fake left-wing media are combining to further the interests of a ruthless global super-class.
Bourdon cannot claim he is the target of FBI hostility due to his defense of Julian Assange as:
1 Assange is not a threat, and
2 Most of Bourdon’s clients are US assets in Africa.
Instead, the focus of the French media has been on the alleged corruption of their enemy, Vincent Bolloré. In the next part, we will focus on some of the controversies of Bolloré’s media empire and their implications for the future of Europe and Africa.
*(Top Image: William Bourdon. Credit: Duc/ flickr)
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Gearóid Ó Colmáin, AHT Paris correspondent, is a journalist and political analyst. His work focuses on globalization, geopolitics and class struggle. His articles have been translated into many languages. He is a regular contributor to Global Research, Russia Today International, Press TV, Sputnik Radio France, Sputnik English , Al Etijah TV , Sahar TV Englis, Sahar French and has also appeared on Al Jazeera. He writes in English, Irish Gaelic and French.