Qatar eyes Sarkozy to head wealth fund – report

Gulf state could back ex French president with €500m for private equity fun
Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund hopes to appoint former French president Nicolas Sarkozy in a senior role at a new private equity fund
By Daniel Shane
Sun 10 Mar 2013 06:20 PM

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund hopes to appoint former French
president Nicolas Sarkozy in a senior role at a new private equity fund,
according to a newspaper report.

London’s Financial Times cited anonymous sources
claiming that Qatar Investment Authority alongside other investors were prepared
to back Sarkozy, who lost last year’s presidential race to socialist Francois
Hollande, with up to €500m to run the new fund.

Sarkozy’s leadership of the potential new fund has been put
on hold in recent weeks however as he seeks a return to French politics amid
declining public sentiment toward Hollande, two people close to the matter
reportedly said.

“The Qataris are taking an option on the next president of
France,” a third source familiar with the venture told the
FT.

The newspaper said that Sarkozy was keeping the wealth fund
option on the table as a backup if a mooted return to the political frame, which
his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is said to oppose, fails to
materialise.

According to the FT, Sarkozy has already consulted
friends on how and where best to invest the Qatar-backed fund, with emerging
markets including Brazil and Morocco, as well as Spain, being
discussed.

Any new fund would be based in Paris with Sarkozy in a
non-executive role. He would not invest funds himself, but would instead open
doors and originate transactions by taking advantage of his political
connections.

A spokesperson for Sarkozy refused to elaborate on the matter
when contacted by the FT. “Mr Sarkozy receives business proposals regularly and
he hasn’t said yes to any yet,” they said.

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