- It is through these tax breaks that the Qataris are buying the "jewels" of France. The U.S. is not selling its defense companies to Qatar.
- Thanks to its huge gas and oil reserves, Qatar has the highest per capita income in the world and huge reserves of cash to invest everywhere, whereas France, thanks to 40 years of socialism, is in dire need of cash.
The state of Qatar has been officially labelled as a "state sponsor of terrorism", and an active supporter of Islamic terrorist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and the Islamic State -- not by Western governments, but by Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islamic faith, and the other Islamic regimes of the region.
Knowing the facts of Qatar -- 11000km2, one-third the size of Belgium, population 2.5 million -- the question may seem far-fetched: How could France, the great France, possibly be bought by a tiny state such as Qatar?
For the single reason that, thanks to its huge gas and oil reserves, Qatar has the highest per capita income in the world and huge reserves of cash to invest everywhere, whereas France, thanks to 40 years of socialism, is in dire need of cash and has a tradition of corruptible officials, to say nothing of a propensity for "collaboration".
On August 4, the English press -- not the French press -- revealed that French prosecutors are actively investigating two events: the awarding the 2022 World Cup of football (soccer) to Qatar, and the purchase by "Qatari Diar", a state-owned investment company, of a stake in the French utility firm Veolia.
At the center of the investigation is former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. To be sure, Sarkozy has not been formally indicted (and he may never be), but the evidence is overwhelming.
First, the World Cup. That the State of Qatar, known for decades for its active support of Islamic terror organizations, and with a temperature among the highest in the world -- in addition to zero tradition in the world of football -- was awarded the 2022 World Cup is, of course, a source of wonder ever since the award was announced by FIFA, the international governing body of football.
French investigators are now looking into a meeting that took place between then-President Sarkozy, Michel Platini -- the French former president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), who sat on the FIFA committee that chose Qatar -- and Qatari officials on November 23, 2010 (10 days before the vote). It is alleged that Platini was dead-set against Qatar and that Sarkozy urged him to change his mind: "They're good people."
The "deal" is said to have been sealed when Qatar agreed to buy the biggest French soccer team, the Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG). It is alleged that huge bribes were paid by Qatar to high-ranking French officials, to secure these two deals: the World Cup and the Veolia investment. Although no evidence has yet been presented, the case would not have been opened by French prosecutors without it. In addition, no one has ever denied the meeting of November 23, 2010.
In April 2010, the "Qatari Diar" fund bought a 5% stake in Veolia. Investigators are tracking 182 million euros suspected of having been used to bribe French officials. Investigators are also looking into a possible link between these two operations: Qatar investing in Veolia as a favor to France, possibly in exchange for France's support for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.
France's then-President Nicolas Sarkozy (left) greets Qatar's then-Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani (right) on March 19, 2011 in Paris, France. (Photo by Franck Prevel/Getty Images)
It is doubtful if the French investigators will ever get to the bottom of these two cases. The judiciary in France has a long tradition of submitting to the government. Since 1789, the French judiciary has not even been an independent power -- as are the Legislative and the Executive -- but a mere authority with a more limited scope.
It is revealing that these two investigations were exposed, not by the French press, but by the English press.
What we already know for sure is the following:
A state sponsor of terrorism, Qatar, was allowed to buy France's leading soccer team, Paris-Saint-Germain, with the help of then-president Nicolas Sarkozy. The former owner of the PSG was a private fund controlled in Europe by one of Sarkozy's close friends. There would have been no deal without the direct consent of Sarkozy -- that is the way France functions.
A state sponsor of terrorism, Qatar, was not only allowed, but actively courted, by French officials to invest in some of France's largest companies, including defense companies, such as Veolia, as well as the Airbus parent company, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS); the energy group EDF; the construction firm, Vinci; and the media and defense group Lagardère.
A state sponsor of terrorism, Qatar, was actively supported in its 2022 bid for the World Cup by the government of France and Nicolas Sarkozy, who declared after the FIFA vote in 2010: "Sport does not belong to a few countries. It belongs to the world... I don't understand those who say that events should always be held in the same countries and the same continents."
There is a significant part of the French political class that seems to consider the Embassy of Qatar in Paris some sort of automatic teller machine (ATM), as has been showed by renowned journalists Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot in their book, Nos très chers émirs (Our Very Dear Emirs) and deplored by the new ambassador of Qatar in France, Meshaal al-Thani.
Since 2008, a state sponsor of terrorism, Qatar, has benefited from a huge tax break in France: the exemption of profits on property sales. In France, profits on property sales are not only taxed at 19%, they are subject to a further CSG/CRDS and social tax (15.5%), resulting in a combined total minimum tax rate of 34.5%. The rule is the same for everyone, whether a person or a corporation. Everyone, that is, but the State of Qatar, when the administration of Nicolas Sarkozy decided to exempt it from the tax. As a result, Qatar's royal family and sovereign fund have since built up a huge portfolio of assets in France, one that dwarfs the portfolio of a state such as Saudi Arabia. Qatar's portfolio ranges from a Champs-Élysées mall to the Lido Cabaret. "Our deficit has destroyed our freedom," said Nathalie Goulet, a centrist senator from Lower Normandy, in 2013. "The Qataris are here to buy, while we are selling our family jewels." Which they did.
Qatar and other Gulf states try to benefit from tax exemptions everywhere in the world, but this convergence of facts -- the selling of assets, sports clubs, defense companies and governmental representatives -- is unique to France. It is through these tax breaks -- this is only one of them -- that the Qataris are buying the "jewels" of France. Of course, the U.S. is also selling arms to the Qataris -- the U.S. has a military base in Al Udeid -- but the U.S. is not selling its defense companies to Qatar.
We therefore probably do not even have to wait for the results of the latest investigations to note that France, particularly but not exclusively under the auspices of Nicolas Sarkozy, has literally been bought by a state sponsor of terrorism, Qatar.
At the same time, Islam in France has been spreading. France has been deeply infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood terror organization, which is not categorized in France -- unlike the UK -- as a sponsor of terror. This organization, since it was overthrown by Egypt's current president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is now the darling of Qatar. Without Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood would be without a home-base. Given its huge financial, corporate and political dependence on Qatar, it is clear that France -- in the name of "stability" -- would not do anything to displease its darling.
Although France is a member of NATO and a nuclear power, nowhere else in the West is Islamism so deeply embedded in the fabric of the institutions, mind and zeitgeist of a country as it is there. Even in the UK, you still find very powerful counter-powers (see the governmental report on the Muslim Brotherhood). Not in France.
Consider the case of the Palestinian official Jabril Rajoub -- sentenced to life in prison in 1970 for throwing a grenade at an Israeli army vehicle, but released, along with others, in exchange for three Israeli soldiers taken hostage by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Rajoub is now chairman of the Palestinian Football Association -- another illustration of the deep infiltration of FIFA by Islamists and Jew-haters sponsored by Gulf States, beginning with Qatar. Would that position even be thinkable without France's sponsorship of Qatar in FIFA? Probably not.
It is true that Qatar is buying assets from around the world, including politicians, not only in France. And it is true that the U.S. is also selling arms to the Qataris, as are many other countries. It is one thing, however, to sell arms, but another to sell your defense companies. It is one thing to be open to foreign investment, but another to give huge tax breaks to a state sponsor of terror so it can acquire the "jewels" of your country.
It is also not an accident that the main face of Islamism in Europe, the Muslim Brother Tariq Ramadan (from his base in Oxford, England) now sees France as the future of Islam in Europe, and not the UK (still number 2 on the list).
The U.S. and other countries may be selling things, but France is selling herself.