There are few people who haven’t heard of a case called Kazakhgate, which began from the claims of French officials in the administration of President Nicolas Sarkozy and escalated into an international scandal. How was this situation resolved? Read the article below and get an answer.
Patokh Chodiev: How was he involved in an international scandal?
Originally, it all started with a statement that Nursultan Nazarbayev asked Nicolas Sarkozy to conclude a lengthy Belgian investigation against billionaire Patokh Chodiev. In exchange, the President of Kazakhstan promised to improve relations between the countries, as well as Chodiev’s assistance in making a deal.
It was claimed that in return for the agreement on the sale of helicopters and satellites in the amount of 2 billion euros, Sarkozy officials helped Chodiev to overcome the problems in Belgium.
Kazahgate case: How did it all start?
In the mid-1990s, Chodiev was accused by the Belgian authorities of financial crimes in relation to real estate. The investigation of this case dragged on for 15 years.
The case was eventually concluded in 2011 after Belgium passed an expanded guilty plea law. As a result of it, Kazakh businessman paid 20 million euros in exchange for the removal of charges without any recognition.
Just after the closure of the case, in the media appeared the first information that Belgium adopted the law under the influence of France.
It was also claimed that Jean-Francois Etienne des Rosaies sent an e-mail to the Sarkozy administration, where he reported that the Belgian Minister of Justice had dismissed the case against Chodiev. The letter also stated that Belgian Senator Arman de Decker agreed to the terms of the French government.
In another letter by the French presidential advisor, the Belgian senator amended the law in favour of Chodiev, and also enlisted the assistance of the Ministers of Finance, Justice and Foreign Affairs.
These articles laid the foundation for the so-called Kazakhgate scandal, and also caused deteriorating of relations between Belgium and France.
Patokh Chodiev: Kazakhgate investigation
In December 2016, the Belgian parliament launched an inquiry into Chodiev’s allegations. According to official figures, 15 members of parliament were involved in the investigation, and over 16 months of the procedure they heard 177 witnesses, whose testimonies were presented in a 500-page report.
According to this report, the plea bargain law had no bearing on Chodiev case and political influence.
In addition, the former chief of staff of President Sarkozy, Claude Guéant, said that the French side only introduced Chodiev to lawyer Catherine Degoul, who led the case. And Degoul was the one, who hired Senator De Decker without the consent of Chodiev.
The investigation later discovered that De Decker had contacted Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck about Chodiev’s case, but his appeal was rejected because the Minister did not interfere in such cases.
In turn, the Minister of Justice of Belgium reacted to the statements of Etienne Rose, naming them Stephen Vanakere, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, also denied the statements made by Jean-Francois.
Patrick de Wolfe of the Brussels Court of Appeal stated that the guilty plea law “was in no way amended to resolve cases against Patokh Chodiev”. As a result, the PIC stated that there was no undue influence on the adoption of the law, which had been discussed for many years before its adoption.
Involvement of Jean-Francois Etienne des Rosaies
As it turned out, there were no other grounds for the conflict between the two countries, except for the statements des Rosaies. According to former colleagues of Jean-Francois, the Frenchman has a demand for acceptance and social status, so it is not surprising that he decided to attract attention by such a scandal.
It seems that des Rosaies, who made a vibrant career as an assistant in the administration of Nicolas Sarkozy, did what diplomats should avoid: he caused an international scandal, exaggerating greatly and distorting the facts and events.