Not including Thierry Mariani and Yves Pozzo di Borgo, there are at least three, current and former, senior leaders that raise concerns: Vladimir Yakunin, Bernard Lozé, and Prince Alexander Trubetskoy.
Having served as the Honorary President of FRD until at least February 2022, Vladimir Yakunin possesses a unique resume that consists of being former KGB, a sanctioned silovarch, erstwhile owner of Russian Railways, and a currently-serving trustee for the sanctioned and IEI watchlisted Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund. Despite espousing the Kremlin narrative of Mr. Putin having supposedly ended the criminal chaos of the nineties, Mr. Yakunin over the years has found himself time and again orbiting such criminal networks with impunity.
Although deceased as of October 2021, Bernard Lozé previously occupied noteworthy senior positions in two other organizations of interest that overlapped with his tenure at FRD: Omega Trust Umbrella PLC, and St. Andrew The First-Called Foundation. During Mr. Loze’s term as one of the directors, Omega Trust Umbrella PLC transferred $23.5 million dollars to a Russian-Cypriot company the U.S. believes, according to leaked FinCen files, could be connected to notorious gangster Semion Mogilevich (a/k/a “The Brainy Don”). While Mr. Lozé was serving as a board member on Yakunin’s St. Andrew The First-Called Foundation, the foundation was fostering an anti-western conspiracy theology (i.e. Orthodox vs. Decadent West) it packages as being representative of “traditionalist values”.
With auxiliary support coming via White Russian émigré nobility, one of Russia’s primary soft power objectives has been its rapprochement policy with France. For example, Prince Alexander Trubetskoy (a/k/a “Alexandre Troubetskoï” or “Troubetzkoi”) has proven a reliable partner as evidenced by his recruitment efforts of Parisian politicians sympathetic to the Kremlin. The Prince is well acquainted with Russian interests, having worked on behalf of the former Soviet Union with continued business interests as recently as 2011-2013, during which he served as a board member of Svyazinvest Communications. He can be found in other ventures involving Vladimir Yakunin, Konstantin Malofeev, and the Russian Orthodox Church.
Complementing his duties as a Member of the European parliament (MEP), Thierry Mariani serves as copresident of FRD as well as having occupied, until 2018, a seat on the “ethics committee” of the Kremlin-funded media outlet Russia Today (RT); in addition to having been forced by the United States to register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) in 2017, RT was sanctioned by the EU in 2022 resulting in the suspension of its broadcasting services.
Politically biased elections (a/k/a “biased observation”) are a tool leveraged by various actors and-or regimes attempting to achieve strategic objectives through the misleading of general populaces about the political processes or legitimacy of elections. Often overlooked, this tactic threatens the integrity of institutional bodies in developing nations as well as Western ones. Mr. Mariani previously functioned as a “biased observer” and delegation organizer for various elections regarded by experts as meeting the criteria for being a politically biased election; additionally, his involvement in the election that occurred in the illegally annexed territory of Crimea was condemned by both Ukrainian and French foreign ministries.
Mr. Mariani has also served as co-chair for the advisory council of CFG Capital alongside Alexander Torshin, an individual that has been sanctioned and possesses links to organized crime via intermediary Alexander Romanov. Moreover, CFG Capital engaged in a joint economic investment fund with Orthodox oligarch Konstantin Malofeev’s Marshall Capital. Both Malofeev and Marshall have been under sanctions since 2014.
On 25 October 2022, Le Monde reported that FRD is presently in the crosshairs of Parisian justice, with investigations being conducted by JUNALCO, a prosecutorial unit whose primary remit is combatting organized crime. With the two primary targets being Thierry Mariani and Yves Pozzo di Borgo, the investigations will focus on money laundering activities while simultaneously attempting to establish facts related to influence peddling and corruption involving FRD. With respect to Mr. Borgo, a former French politician, Le Monde elaborated by stating that his consulting company, “YPDB Conseil”, were amongst the suspected financial transactions that had been flagged by TRACFIN; furthermore, the Parisian anti-money laundering unit BERCY discovered that Mr. Borgo’s company had been conducting business with Bakulin Motors Group (BMG), a Russian bus company that is alleged to have business links with an oligarch adjacent the Kremlin.
On or about 2 November 2022, the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund in cooperation with FRD held an online discussion titled: "Security in Europe: the Role of the Russian Federation and France". The event characterized contemporary international relations and structures that’ve maintained a “unipolar” world as being “obsolete”, with supporting emphasis being placed on a statement it attributed to French politician Christian Cambon, suggesting that Russia and France could form a new security structure that would provide an alternative to NATO.
Third sector organizations such as nonprofits, think tanks, or foundations possessing meaningful links to or behaviours consistent with: malign influence and finance; financial and organised crime; narrative or reputation laundering; or espionage, amongst others, may morally corrode the nonprofit space. Additionally, any organization engaged in or associated with such activities can potentially serve as a vector for undermining western institutions and values as well as transatlantic relationships. Open-source information indicates Association Dialogue Franco-Russe's senior leadership and its direct as well as indirect activities warrant the designation of this organization as a “high-risk NGO”. Therefore, FRD has been placed onto the Institute for European Integrity’s NGO Watchlist.