Guy Verhofstadt, the senior MEP who lambasted Alexis Tsipras in Brussels last week, is on the Board of two companies due to gain from Greek energy privatisation…and is paid €190,000 a year by billionaire Nicolas Boël to lobby to that end. He has also been hawkishly anti-Putin over the Ukraine issue, where the Boël dynasty plotted régime change as a means of gaining valuable fracking contracts.
Many of you will doubtless have seen this Youtube vitriol aimed at Tsipras by Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt:
He’s a pretty unpleasant and vindictively sarcastic bloke who wants régime change in Greece more than most. But Verhofstadt’s vomit-inducing mélange of acrimony and sanctimony left out one rather important element: a declaration by this corrupt bombast that he has a personal financial interest in hounding Syriza from office.
You see, mijnheer Veryhighstink is on the Board of an energy company called Sofina. Sofina is quoted on the Brussels bourse – so, very handy for Guy – and yes indeed, here he is listed at Bloomberg:
If the Greek privatisation programme demanded by Verhofshit et al goes ahead, then shareholders in Sofina stand to make a lot of money as the shares sky rocket and earnings per share rise. Last February 24th, Go-getter Guy argued strongly for the Greek energy privatisation to be given priority. Tsipras and Varoufakis specifically blocked such a move. Now however, Sofina’s partner in crime GDFSuez is a front runner to win that privatisation contract.
It’s a funny thing, but mijnheer Veryfat is very close to the Boël billionaire patriarch Nicolas, who owns 53.8% of Sofina.
Let’s not beat about the bush here, Guy Verhofstadt is paid €130,000 a year to lobby for Nicolas Boël.
It gets worse, I’m afraid. Verhypocradt is also on the board of Belgian shipping company Exmar, which specialises in the exploitation and transportation of gas; it too stands to make a fortune from the fire-sale of Greece’s seabed gas finds.
And blow me down with a Belgian windbag, Guy Verhofstadt is paid €60,000 a year to lobby for Exmar.
I think we have to ask European Parliament Chair and fellow anti-Tsipras loudmouth Martin Schulz why his chum Verhofstadt didn’t declare these obvious interest conflicts before laying into Alexis Tsipras, the spotless Prime Minister of an EU sovereign State. Also what he is going to do about these revelations.
And while Martin Shutzstaffel is pondering the best wriggle-strategy out of that one, he might also care to look into some of the Belgian chocolate’s other hobby-horses…and the remarkable confluence they have with his business interests.
For example, mijnheer Verhofstadt has been a passionate advocate of fast-tracking Ukraine into the EU. This is because the Boël family is determined to grab a slice of the big shale-fracking potential of the Ukraine: and again, they pay him to make things easier for them. The EU has been happy dealing with corrupt politicians and mobsters in Ukraine to this end, because Verhofstadt has argued that the needs justify the means.
To those ends, Verhofstadt travelled to Maiden Square in Kiev and addressed anti-government protestors there in February 2014, making a series of inflammatory statements that earned rebukes from UKip leaders. Ukrainian police snipers shot protestors before then-president, the Russia-backed Viktor Yanukovich, fled Kiev later that month.
As the Ukraine Crisis escalated, Russia annexed Crimea. Astonishingly, Verhofstadt wound up being a catalyst in the creation of the worst superpower standoff since the Cold War.
His masters needed régime change, so the ever-obliging Guy helped them get it. Having created a civil war where there had previously been a crisis, in May 2014, Verhofstadt wrote in a Guardian column as follows:
‘First and foremost, the international community cannot allow a military incursion of a sovereign state, of the kind undertaken by Russia, to be rewarded. Any outcome must involve Russian forces being withdrawn to pre-conflict levels….the regime in the Kremlin may show less inclination to consider the views of voters than western democracies, but it is not deaf to economic pressure, especially given the slide in the exchange rate of the rouble against the dollar and the potential loss of foreign direct investment as investors clamour to protect or sell their Russian-based assets….Russia will bow to economic pressure.’
He was wrong on all counts, but the key thing to note here is that this is what his paymasters were demanding: anything less would dash their hopes of getting the shale contracts.
This is the hypocrite who had the audacity to accuse Alexis Tsipras of not being a Democrat in the European Parliament.
This is the shifty lobbyist now revealed to be a creature pushing the corporacratic needs of neoliberal fascists…at the expense of recovery in Greece and peace in the Ukraine.
This is the self-promoting gargoyle MEP who should now be asked – if he cannot explain himself satisfactorily – to resign.
**Major hat-tip to Slogger Dan for pointing me in the right direction on this scandalous abuse of office.