Nicolas Sarkozy to Go Work for Qatar

A blog about business and economics.
March 29 2013 4:29 PM

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

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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.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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