Revolving Door, France Edition: Nicolas Sarkozy to Go Work for Qatar

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy gestures prior to a meeting on March 27, 2013 at the EU Headquarters in Brussels.

Photo by GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

Lurking behind the paywall, Anne-Sylvaine Chassany and Camilla Hall have a great piece about Nicolas Sarkozy’s post-election plans to get rich. The basic element of the plan is that the Emirate of Qatar is going to give him €3 million a year.

Sadly, however, in the world of politics you need a more complicated structure to these things. So what’s actually going to happen is that the Emirate of Qatar is going to have its state-controlled sovereign wealth fund back a private equity firm called Columbia Investments that “would have an office in London in which the former president would visit one or two days a week, according to a person familiar with the matter.” The investment will be worth €250 million and as the authors note “[b]ased on the typical 1.5 per cent fees levied by private equity groups for managing €250m, the former president and his investment team would stand to gain more than €3m annually.” What will the firm be doing? The plan is to “invest in ‘European reconstruction’ – companies in continental Europe, with a particular emphasis on Spain.”

If it actually works out for Qatar, in other words, the idea would be that Sarkozy has some kind of lucrative connections with the center-right government currently ruling Spain. He could, for example, point out that a politician presiding over recession and an unpopular austerity program needs to make plans for his post-political life. Perhaps Mariano Rajoy and his ministers would enjoy doing something in the private equity world, perhaps assisting wealthy Gulf sovereigns to navigate European investment opportunities.