Guéant Faces Corruption Allegations from Potential Money Laundering

Claude Guéant Photo:

Claude Guéant

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s Chief of Staff and right-hand man, Claude Guéant, faces new scrutiny following the investigation into Sarkozy’s questionable campaign finances.

The allegations stem from a $650,000 transfer to Guéant’s personal bank account from a foreign account in 2008 and from receipts for bills paid in cash for a sum of $35,000, which Guéant allegedly used to buy home supplies.

This information was discovered when investigators searched Guéant’s home and office on February 27, 2013 when French magistrates officially opened an investigation into Sarkozy’s campaign finances for the 2007 Presidential campaign.

Given the murky financial circumstances surrounding Sarkozy’s campaign, Guéant has had to answer for the origin and purpose of these funds.

Guéant claims that the $650,000 transfer came from the sale of two paintings by the Flemish artist, Andries van Eertvelt, to a Malaysian lawyer, whose identity remains unknown.  Van Eertvelt’s paintings, according to art historians, rarely sell for more than $20,000.

As for the bills paid in cash, Guéant has changed his story, stating that the money came from cash bonuses he received while serving as Sarkozy’s cabinet director at the Interior Ministry.

Guéant maintains his innocence, in spite of his shaky defense, and he declared in a TV interview last week, “I have never laundered anything […] I don’t know how to do it.”

Amid the scandal, Guéant was appointed to the International Mining and Infrastructure Corporation (IMIC) May 14th as a strategic advisor.  Chairman of IMIC, Haresh Kanabar, released a statement expressing his confidence in Gueant’s abilities.

“We are delighted that an individual of Claude’s experience and standing has agreed to assist us by becoming a strategic adviser to IMIC,” Kanabar said following the appointment.

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