Gérard Araud would be the subject of a report for “intelligence with a foreign power” to the Paris prosecutor. Its engagement with the Israeli company NSO, the publisher of the spyware Pegasus, would attract the attention of the justice system.
According to information revealed by the magazine Marianne, the former French diplomat, Gérard Araud, would be the subject of “important verifications” by the High Authority for the transparency of public life as well as a report to the Paris prosecutor for “intelligence with a foreign power ”.
After his retirement, the former diplomat went to work for several foreign companies. One of them was NSO, the publisher of the Pegasus spyware that several states allegedly used to spy on French targets including five ministers, a diplomat attached to the Elysee and several journalists.
Gérard Araud and NSO: a dangerous connection?
It would be about this engagement with the Israeli company, creator of the spyware Pegasus, which would be worth to Gérard Araud to be under the blow of an investigation. As reported Paris Match, Gérard Araud was recruited as an external advisor by the Israeli company from September 2019 to September 2020.
In an interview with the magazine, he described his function as follows: “I was asked to set up decision-making processes, to help establish lists of countries according to their democratic functioning, their geostrategic positions. Then I reflected with management on the questions and conditions that should be imposed on buyers. We have also organized internal procedures so that whistleblowers can come forward with peace of mind and we have worked on better representation of staff in decision-making. ”
It remains to be determined whether Gérard Araud crossed the red line by working for a company marketing spyware of which certain French leaders were victims. This affair is in any case very embarrassing for a former ambassador of France to the United States, whose initial mission consists in ensuring “the protection of the interests of the State and that of the French nationals”.
Recall that the law on the transparency of public life of 2013, reinforced in 2019, requires any high official (active or retired) appointed to the Council of Ministers, such as ambassadors, to ask their supervisory ministry authorization to exercise a remunerated activity. This activity must in no case contravene the interests of France, whether diplomatic, economic or military.
A diplomat with controversial statements
Gérard Araud has often distinguished himself by his “not very diplomatic” positions. While in Washington in 2016, he was critical of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States, saying on Tweeter that “after Brexit and this election, everything is now possible. A world is collapsing before our eyes. Dizziness”. The message was quickly erased, Gérard Araud probably regretting having left the reserve to which his official position is supposed to force him.
In the same vein, in 2019, the former diplomat attacked RT, believing that it “is not a news channel. It is the instrument of a foreign power. To appear there is to be an accomplice ”.
RT is not a news channel. It is the instrument of a foreign power. To appear there is to be an accomplice. https://t.co/mr564KVuLK
– Gérard Araud (@GerardAraud) March 29, 2019
Having worked at Polytechnique, Sciences Po and ENA, Gérard Araud was Director of Strategic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to Israel (2003-2006) and then to the United States (2014-2019).
After his retirement from the public service, Gérard Araud reconverted into the role of consultant, offering his services to several organizations and private companies. In May 2019, he was appointed vice-president of Richard Attias & Associates, the international communication and events agency founded by the husband of Cécilia Ciganer-Albéniz, the ex-wife of Nicolas Sarkozy. A few weeks after the recruitment of Gérard Araud, Richard Attias & Associates won the call for tenders for the organization of the 28th edition of the Africa-France Summit which will take place in Montpellier in October 2021. A call for tenders issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that is to say the former employer of Gérard Araud.
In early 2020, the former diplomat joined Albright Stonebridge Group, the strategic consulting company chaired by the former Secretary of State of the United States, Madeleine Albright. Gérard Araud deploys his know-how in many sectors, ranging from commercial diplomacy to risk advice.