Qatar Picks Sarkozy To Lead Wealth Fund

France’s ex-President would take a non-executive role to help direct where to invest $650 million.



Nicolas Sarkozy meets Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani in 2011. Getty

Nicolas Sarkozy, the ex-President of France, is being courted by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and other investors to help start a new private equity fund, according to a British newspaper.

The Financial Times reported that the Qatar Investment Authority has offered the ex-politican its backing as well as €500 million ($650 million) to help run the new fund from a non-executive position, using his political clout to open doors.

Sarkozy, who was in Abu Dhabi earlier this month speaking at a conference alongside ex-British foreign secretary David Miliband, has yet to establish a new role after losing out in France’s presidential race to Francois Hollande last year.

However the potential new role has been put on hold recently as Sarkozy mulls a return into French politics, following a decline in popularity for current incumbent Hollande, who has slipped in the polls.

“The Qataris are taking an option on the next president of France,” one of the souces told the FT.

The newspaper’s undisclosed sources confirmed that Sarkozy had discussed the offer with his advisors, with some of his close circle advising him not to start a business that could damage his political chances.

Sarkozy is believed to be keeping the fund option as a backup should his attempt to re-gain France’s top political seat fail to materialise.

Sarkozy’s wife is understood to be against a second foray into politics though that has not stopped the ex-President from consulting with friends on where and how to invest the fund, with one idea suggesting investment in companies in emerging markets.

A spokesperson for Sarkozy told the paper: “Mr Sarkozy receives business proposals regularly and he hasn’t said yes to any yet.”