Embroiled in a much-publicised scandal after allegedly beating a protester at a May Day rally while being dressed as a police officer, French President Emmanuel Macron‘s ex-bodyguard Alexandre Benalla has a secret connection with Saudi Arabia.
According to Intelligence Online, the facts go back to 2015 when Alexandre Benalla was working in the private sector with the Velours Group. It specialized in private security, and was established by former police officers. As a reminder, in 2017, after the victory of Macron in the presidential election, Benalla was appointed as a mission leader to the chief of staff of the Elysee.
The spokesman for the Elysee said Benalla was responsible for organizing the security of the President’s travel, a task usually assigned to the Security Group of the Presidency of the Republic (GSPR) composed of elite police officers trained for this mission. He was often seen at Mr Macron’s side on official outings.
However, the nature of his duties was kept under veil, which further fuelled speculation regarding the secret police. The presidential palace has an intricate security framework of military gendarmes and police.
It was later revealed that Alexandre Benalla was part of the team that protected the then little known Saudi Arabia Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). This earned Alexandre Benalla an invitation to the great reception given on the Throne Day by the Saudi Embassy in Paris.
Since becoming president in 2017, Macron is acting like an image consultant to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Macron has shown complete support for Saudi Arabia, while its flighting a bloody war in Yemen since 2015. Alongside the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia’s military offensive has caused world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Yet, for Macron, Saudi authorities are not to be blamed.
The tales of Alexandre Benalla’s ties with the Saudi Crown Prince may explain why President Macron is proceeding with caution with Mohammed bin Salman.