The Belgian billionaire George Arthur Forrest, who was named in the “Kazakhgate” affair by the French site Mediapart on Monday, denies any involvement. He “has never met Mr Patokh Chodiev and has no relationship with him”, according to a press release published on Tuesday. According to Medipart, the entrepreneur, who is involved in Central African mines, is said to have given Jean-François Etienne des Rosaies, a former employee of Nicolas Sarkozy, 95,000 euros. Mr Etienne des Rosaises was charged with corruption in March. According to the French press, the advisor followed an operation to try and ease the punishment of the Belgo-Kazakh businessman Patokh Chodiev while at the Elysee. Chodiev is being charged with money laundering in Belgium as part of the Tractebel affair. Tractebel’s aim was to insure a helicopter sales contract between France and Kazakhstan.
Mr Bruno Illouz, Mr Forrest’s French lawyer, told Mediapart that his client denied using his influence to benefit Patokh Chodiev. “The article has it all wrong” he said in a press release issued by Henry de Harenne, an advisor for the Forrest International Group. “There is a relationship between Mr George Arthur Forrest and Mr Jean-François Etienne de Rosaies, but it has nothing to do with the speeded up vote. The timeline for Kazakhgate, 2010 and 2011, show that costs for Mr Rosaies’ company, GB Conseil, have nothing to do with this case. His lawyer has said the same. The reason the 95,000 euros were paid in 2013 and 2014, as well as numerous documents, also prove it”, the press release says.
Georges Arthur Forrest and Patokh Chodiev are not the only Belgians who have been named in “Kazakhgate”. According to the French press, the Elysee told politician Armand De Decker to use his influence to speed up the vote on the law on fines, which would benefit Mr Chodiev and his associates. The liberal has always denied it. During the Tractebel investigations, he admitted working for Chodiev, but only as a lawyer Jason Bennett (Source: Belga)