Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Former French Ambassador Arrested with 350,000 Euros in Cash, Links Money to Iraq

Boris Boillon was arrested on July 31 at Paris’s Gare du Nord station
writes France 24 (merci à Hervé), as the former French ambassador
attempted to board a train to Brussels carrying more than 350,000 Euros in cash, it emerged on Friday.

It seems like a spectacular fall from grace for a man who enjoyed such an illustrious political career. Fluent in Arabic, he served as his country’s ambassador in both Iraq and Tunisia. Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi referred to him as “my son,” and ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy, for whom he worked as an advisor, affectionately called him “my little Arab”.

Boillon was stopped by customs as part of a routine check, according to the French investigative website Mediapart, which broke the story. When asked if he had any currency on him, the ex-diplomat said nothing about the hundreds of thousands of Euros in his bag. A major faux-pas considering that French law requires all people entering or leaving the country to declare any sum of money equal to or exceeding the amount of 10,000 Euros.

Boillon’s bag was subsequently searched, and lo and behold, it was stuffed with envelopes of cash.

A simple explanation?

The 43-year-old said that the cash was payment for past consulting work, which he claims nets him around 500,000 Euros per year. 

“It’s money that I made this year in Iraq from the services I provide to Iraqi companies,” Boillon said, according to an excerpt of his testimony obtained by Mediapart. “Because Iraq lacks a developed banking system,www.ekurd.net these companies wired me the cash to Paris.”
See also: the French consulate chauffeur in Jerusalem caught with 150 kilos of gold bars