UAE’s Alliance with France Stands on Extensive Emirati Lobbying Efforts

The smoothly functioning mechanism of the United Arab Emirates is a result of several years of techniques that the country has adopted to display the perfect picture of a luxurious, travel-friendly nation. Behind the merry scenes of the flourishing Emirates is a chaotic world of corruption and aggressive manipulation campaigns.

In March 2023, a Mediapart report based on leaked data revealed the UAE’s extensive manipulation campaigns in Europe, particularly France. A Switzerland-based economic intelligence firm, Alp Services was coordinating a network of influence in France, which was operating on behalf of the Emirates. Headed by the 76-year-old Mario Brero, the company was closely working with an Emirati secret agent, identified as Matar Al Neyadi.

Al Neyadi is a senior intelligence officer in Abu Dhabi, who had been availing Brero’s services since four years. Leaked documents revealed details about direct meetings between Al Neyadi and Brero. The Emirati agent was also accompanied by his boss in the UAE intelligence services, Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, nicknamed as “his excellency the boxer”, in the cautious meetings with Brero and his team in Switzerland and Abu Dhabi.

The Swiss firm was trusted by the Emirates for some crucial and sensitive missions, for which Alp Services received millions of euros from Al Neyadi. The two sides opted the encrypted email service Protonmail for communication, which was highly sensitive. One of the contracts demanded Alp to write 100 propaganda articles against the UAE’s rival country, Qatar. The UAE also attempted to target Muslim Brotherhood, the political movement that was perceived as a threat to the Emirates’ authoritarian rule.

Alp Services was also assigned to identify the network of Muslim Brotherhood in Europe. The company also approached Italian-American scholar Lorenzo Vidino, who frequently wrote on the Muslim Brotherhood, to obtain information about the organization. Vidino received several thousand euros for signing the consultancy contract.

While the Swiss firm was spreading information to damage reputation of the UAE’s opponents, it was also working to gain influence in France on behalf of the Emirates. Alp Services was connected to several researchers, including those having direct access to top-level French diplomats. One of them was Roland Jacquard, a French consultant and former journalist who maintained a critical network of politicians, diplomats and military personnel.

Jacquard was believed to be the one who connected Alp Services with its Emirati secret services client. The French consultant’s contract with the Swiss firm also provided him with a direct communication channel with the UAE’s Matar Al Neyadi. In the emails sent on Al Neyadi’s email,, Jacquard supplied the Emirati agent with inside information acquired from French President Emmanuel Macron, the security services and the Élysée. He also regularly informed Al Neyadi about the meetings with Macron, his visit to the Élysée, and about Muslim Brotherhood’s network.

Another contact of Alp Services, Alexandre Benalla was Macron’s bodyguard and security adviser. Positive towards Brero, Benalla said his services to the Swiss company was “out of friendship”. Macron’s former consultant said he connected Brero with “businessmen or company bosses”, when he was unable to fulfil some “complex requests”.

Al Neyadi’s Protonmail also revealed another name, Atmane Tazaghart, a French journalist who is close to Jacquard. Tazaghart’s link emerged through Qatar Papers, which were published by Éditions Michel Lafon in April 2019. Michel Lafon was contacted by Tazaghart, following which the two sides signed a contract in June 2019. The French journalist acquired right to publish the book by Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot in Arabic and English language.

The money to publish the Qatar Papers translations was not paid by Tazaghart. The contract was signed on behalf of a shell company, Countries Reports Publishing (CRP), which has no website, phone number or offices. Chesnot and Malbrunot indicated that the CRP’s payment was most probably the “money from the Emirates, or even from Saudi Arabia”.

Alp Services and the researchers identified through the encrypted email account of the Emirati secret agent, Matar Al Neyadi, have disclosed the turmoil that the UAE is creating in the background. The Frame displaying a progressive image of a flourishing Emirates is fixed through the nails that have dented the reputation and system of other nations.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.