French former PM François Fillon named to board of Russian state oil operation

·1-min read

Disgraced French former prime minister and defeated presidential contender, François Fillon has been named to the board of Russian state oil company Zarubezhneft, according to a list published by a website specialising in business information.

Zarubezhneft did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the list published by the website run by the Interfax news agency, which said Fillon had been on the board since 28 June.

Fillon, who ran the French government under President Nicolas Sarkozy between 2007 and 2012, is head of Apteras, a consultancy he set up after an ignominious 2017 presidential bid.

His campaign was capsised by a fake-jobs scandal, for which a court sentenced him in June 2020 to five years in prison, three suspended.

He has already worked with Russian firms through Apteras, and was nominated for his role on the Zarubezhneft board by the government in Moscow in June.

Fillon, 67, is just the latest in a string of former senior European politicians to join Russian energy companies.

Austrian ex-foreign minister Karin Kneissl, who notoriously danced with President Vladimir Putin at her wedding in 2018, was in June named to the board of Rosneft, Russia's biggest oil producer.

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has been chairman of the Rosneft board since 2017, earning nearly half-a-million euros a year.

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