After sending out a press release last week, Tayeb Benabderrahmane’s defense took it a step further this Wednesday afternoon by holding a press conference. The appointment was made, for two days, in the living room of a luxurious hotel in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. His three lawyers – My Luke Vidal, Juan Branco and Nabil Boudi – exchanged for more than an hour with the many journalists present. In the program: “Provide explanations” on arresting their client in Qatar in early 2020 and exhibiting “its truth in this case”.
On his profile: “The classic profile of a French investor abroad”
“He is a French entrepreneur, active for fifteen years in the field of geopolitical and geo-economic consultancy, through various networks. And that, as part of his activities, he has met a number of actors who have allowed her to carry out numerous missions in France and abroad, often linked to crisis situations.
It is in this context that he was approached by the Qatari authorities, in a context of economic and political boycott, to invest his network, his knowledge, his skills. He thus comes into contact with prominent personalities from Qatar and settles there, with his family. He developed his own consulting business and continued to provide his services to the country. In short, the classic profile of a French investor abroad. Until 13 January 2020 … “
On his arrest and detention: “Acts of pressure and torture”
“That day he was arrested in the morning by the local security forces. His apartment was raided, his material and intellectual assets were seized. Then he was placed in secret detention, suffering for several weeks acts of pressure and torture in order to obtain information and, above all, to force him, through his wife, to return all the information available to him. He was then pulled from the center when they were handed over, before being placed under house arrest and leaving the country on November 1, 2020.
On the claims: “No support from the French authorities”
“At no time were his fundamental rights respected. He had no consular protection, nor the right to fair and accessible legal proceedings. Neither any judicial or police authorities tried to extricate him from the situation in which he had been placed, nor did they attempt to investigate his arrest. His reaction was gradual, but immediate. The criminal complaint this summer is only the result of a series of steps, friendly then contentious, undertaken by himself, alone and in the face of silence, without any support from the French authorities.
It is under these conditions that in late August-early September (2022), has decided to step up its response and initiate criminal proceedings. These are two complaints. The first, against X, for acts of torture and the second for acts of extortion, also directed against X but targeted all the people who participated in these negotiations until his release from prison against documents. “
On the alleged role of Al-Khelaïfi: “He had something to fear”
“Nasser al-Khelaïfi forced him to renounce any disclosure of potentially compromising documents while detained in Qatar and his alleged lawyers (weather) pressured his family to retrieve the items and sign this protocol * (confidentiality). Al-Khelaïfi, one of the most powerful people in the world, tried to prevent any information about him from being shared.
For Qatar, the whole issue is stifling this type of business because we are touching on big strategic issues. Our client was perceived as an obstacle and football was used as a tool to be exploited for directly political ends. If you have taken all these risks (to stop it), is that the concern is important. And, if Al-Khelaïfi was personally involved, it was because he had something to fear. “
On the ramifications: “This case is rather sprawling”
“What we are seeing is similar to a state scandal. They (their client) it does not resemble the thousand victims that the Qatari regime has made in recent years, including foreign workers and political opponents. It is a miracle and his life is still in great danger today. Hence the desire to make his voice heard and to know his history. This calls into question the absolute silence that has imposed itself in France. The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs was first informed, as was the French ambassador to Qatar. The steps were repeated in January, still unanswered.
Why has France remained silent? We have a right to expect answers. Has France knowingly remained silent and knowingly covered up a foreign state? The corruption networks set up by Qatar go far beyond what we think. This case is quite extensive. There are interests of lawyers, politicians, former ministers and elected officials. It is therefore necessary to investigate to find out if he has been a victim of torture in Qatar and, above all, if the French actors are accomplices, including those who have remained silent. Some interlocutors in Paris were aware of the abuses suffered. “
On his recent indictment for suspicion of confidential leaks: “A counterfire too coarse”
“The investigation for which he is targeted does not concern him at the beginning and the violation of privacy, which was one of the initial accusations, also fell during his appearance before the investigating judge. He is indicted but remains free, placed only under judicial control. We are used to these firefighting attempts, which are far too crude. There will be an extraordinary offensive to destroy our client, after trying to make him disappear. “
On his terms: “A broken man”
“His position was that of a broken man when he returned to France. We have concrete and objective elements, including medical reports, which allow us to affirm that, during his detention, he was subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. There have also been direct threats to his family, such as poisoning his children or permanent damage to his integrity.
It was a lasting trauma, which his wife continues to experience. Everyone around him suffered from these facts. He imagines the level of fear he may have inhabited in recent months. He has suffered extraordinary violence, tries to rebuild himself and hopes that justice will be done. For him and for all the other people who may have known similar facts without being able to be heard. “