Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

The Rise and Fall of Alexandre Djouhri

The Rise and Fall of Alexandre Djouhri

Thursday, 11 January, 2018 - 09:45
France's former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin (C) and businessman Alexandre Djouhri (L) attending a football match in Paris in April 2014 Credit: FRANCK FIFE/AFP

French Algerian businessman Alexandre Djouhri won't be kept in prison in London until he appears in court on April 17 since he has managed to avoid the preventive detention via a bail of one million pound sterling.

Djouhri was detained on Sunday at Heathrow airport as he arrived from Switzerland. He was asked not to leave the UK and to stay at his daughter's home in the British capital.

Alexandre, whose original name is Ahmad, wasn’t expecting this fate. He associated with prominent figures and used to move easily among countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and even Russia and China. Despite the fact that a European arrest warrant was issued in his case, Djouhri was invited to attend a reception for the French President in Algeria last month. He has also been eluding from the French judiciary since around one year and a half.

The businessman descends from a modest Algerian family that arrived in Sarcelles, Paris in 1959. During his youth, he switched many careers and had a confrontation with the judiciary in 1981 due to suspicions of his participation in attacking a jewelry shop. In 1986, he survived an assassination attempt when he was shot due to a dispute with a competitive group. Later on, Djouhri got introduced to prominent figures in the area of finance, business and politics. Soon, he became an expert in affairs of Africa and the Middle East.

It was normal that he moves from the business to politics in order to build strong ties with influencers.

In 2006, Djouhri cemented ties with the close circle of Sarkozy. When he won the elections in 2007, a luxurious sports vehicle would be seen in front of Elise Palace. The vehicle belonged to Djouhri whom the French judiciary suspects is involved in Libyan funding of Sarkozy campaign.

Libyan funding of Sarkozy isn't new and the relations between the French president and Gaddafi regime were highly complex. They reached the peak when Sarkozy encouraged ousting the regime of Gaddafi.

Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine narrated several times how he transferred millions of dollars in a private airplane from Tripoli to Le Bourget Airport and handed them out to the right-hand man of Sarkozy Claude Gueant.

Notably, Takieddine was a competitor of Djouhri in arms deals and mediation in Libya.

Editor Picks