War in Ukraine: these European leaders who reluctantly leave the boards of directors of Russian groups

Former presidents or heads of government, such as Nicolas Sarkozy, François Fillon or the Italian Matteo Renzi, have worked for major Russian institutions. One of the vectors of Moscow’s influence in Europe.

Nicolas Sarkozy, he resigned before the war broke out. The former head of state then held the position of special adviser and chairman of the strategic advisory committee to the board of directors of Reso-Garantia, one of the main insurance companies in Russia. “Since the fall of 2021, he no longer has any mandate”, specifies his spokesperson.

The former President of the Republic faced other difficulties in the country. A few months earlier, in January 2021, the Mediapart site had revealed the opening of a preliminary investigation by the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office for counts of “trading in influence” and “laundering of a crime or offense” concerning a consultancy contract worth 3 million euros signed by Mr. Sarkozy with Reso-Garantia. A company controlled by two oligarchs, the Russian-Armenian brothers Sergey and Nikolay Sarkisov, and in which the French insurer Axa holds a 38.6% stake.

Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, European public opinion has discovered the multitude of former leading political and economic personalities who officiated, in recent years, for large Russian companies. Among them, in addition to Nicolas Sarkozy, the French François Fillon and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, but also the former heads of government, Italian, Matteo Renzi, Finnish, Esko Aho and Paavo Lipponen, German, Gerhard Schröder, and Austrians, Christian Kern and Wolfgang Schussel. Or Maurice Leroy, Minister for the City of the François Fillon government, the British Gregory Barker (former Minister of Energy) and George Osborne (ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer), or Karin Kneissl, appointed by the far right to head of Austrian diplomacy in 2017.

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