Born in Morocco, the son of a Corsican military officer, this French international wheeler-dealer and good friend of the late Charles Pasqua, the powerful former French Interior Minister, has promoted sports and oil deals, especially in Russia. Gulfi was also a boon companion of the late Juan Antonio Samaranch, the former International Olympic Committee President. In 1993, Guelfi sold his Ouchy (Lausanne) mansion, overlooking the dazzling Lake of Geneva, to the I.O.C. to be used as the administrative center for the Olympic Museum located next door (See: “The Man Who $old the Olympic$” by Andrew Jennings, Allsports magazine, August 2008, p. 27-29.
A.k.a. “Dédé la Sardine” (from his days as Morocco’s biggest fish exporter), Guelfi went on to become a Formula One race driver in the 1950’s. Later he married Georges Pompidou’s niece, and made a fortune by investing in Parisian real estate. He also became a big promoter of international sports events, e.g. the 1980 Russian Olympics. In 1999, he bought Le Coq Sportif, the French sports equipment company which made athletic shoes, jerseys and T-shirts. (Le Coq Sportif previously had two subsidiaries in Fribourg: Le Coq Sportif Distribution SA, and Le Coq Sportif Holding SA)
In 1997, Guelfi was imprisoned for six weeks because of his connections to the Elf-Aquitaine kickback scandal (See #10, #13 & #30, above).
While in prison, Guelfi met the flamboyant French sports executive Bernard Tapie who had been incarcerated for having fixed a soccer match. The two dealmakers made a pact whereby Guelfi would give Tapie a generous salary and buy him a sumptuous secondary residence if Tapie agreed to share with Guelfi a settlement he would receive from Crédit Lyonnais which Tapie believed had cheated him when it had been hired to sell his sports company Adidas.
In recent years, the enterprising nonagenarian (96 yrs. Old!) has been battling French oil giant Total for a commission he was supposed to have received many years ago for the exploitation of Russian oil fields.
In 2002, Guelfi admitted to having illegally arranged numerous free flights aboard Elf corporate jets for his fellow Corsican, Mr. Pasqua. Shady Moroccan, French, and Swiss business affairs still “pitch about in his wake” (“Intermédiaire professional du sport et des affaires, André Guelfi se met à table,” Le Temps, Geneva, 2/18/99). But Guelfi steadfastly maintained that all the accusations made against him were unfounded.
At the beginning of 1999, Guelfi’s polemical autobiography, L’Original, was published by Robert Lafont. One of the persons that Guelfi savages in his book is French author Françoise Sagan, who claims that she was manipulated by Guelfi so that he could gain access to her friend French President François Mitterrand when Guelfi was seeking to close a deal between Elf and the new Central-Asian state of Uzbekekistan (See: “Quand Sagan jouait les Mata-Hari,” Le Monde, 3/12/99, p. 14).
Then, on September 16, 1999, on page one of the Swiss daily Le Temps, it was announced that an international warrant for the arrest of André Guelfi had been issued in Geneva by Judge Paul Perraudin, who had been investigating the myriad Swiss connections to the Elf affair. Guelfi was accused of fraud, forgery, and money laundering in the Leuna-Minol affair, named for the East German oil refinery which Elf bought after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Elf accused Guelfi of fraudulently obtaining a commission of SFR. 80 million with the complicity of an Elf subsidiary in Geneva. Some of this money was rumored to have gone into the coffers of ex-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s political party.
Initially, Guelfi was considered to be a fugitive from justice. Several weeks earlier, on August 31, 1999, Roland Trachsel, chairman of the Lausanne fiduciary Orgafid, which had played an important role in laundering the Guelfi commission, was arrested on the same charges that were later leveled against Guelfi. Trachsel, who had been administrator of several Fribourgeois companies (Études Techniques Gertec SA; Karmento SA) was also on the board of Guelfi’s Fribourgeois company Gerag SA (See: “Les Pots-de –vin d’Elf en Allemagne dans le collimateur des Suisses,” le canard enchaîné, 9/8/99, p. 3).
In November 2003, the long Elf affair ended, and a French court gave Guelfi a suspended sentence of three years and a fine of $1.2 million. Today, Guelfi resides in an exclusive Maltese community, and continues to pilot his own jet in his travels around the world.
Fribourg cos. : BSTV, Big Screen Television SA, Commerce internat. de télévision à grand écran et d’access, annexes, etc. Cap 0,05. (20.5.77, 1.3.79) Rue de l’Hȏpital 3, chez Gestion Financ. Schibler SA
Gerag SA, Participations, etc., Cap 0,05. (7.1.82, 8.10.82) Bd. de Pérolles 15. Chez Me Bernard Boni
Guelfi’s mansion above the Lake of Geneva where he lived from 1975-1993
Haboby and Fadel Kadhum settled on a company called Schmiedemeccanica (SMB). Not only did it make maraging steel, it could provide the machine tools needed to shape it as well. Better yet, it was located in the paradise of all arms dealers, dope peddlers, dictators, and money launderers: Switzerland.
–Kenneth R. Timmerman, The Death Lobby, p. 385.
36. Haboby, Dr. Safa (1946- )
Saddam Hussein’s Oil Minister, who was formerly one of his chief agents for the procurement of advanced arms technology. Haboby worked with Gerald Bull on the Super-Gun project until Bull’s assassination in 1990.
Haboby’s specialty was setting up front companies that were used to hide Iraq’s secret procurement of American and European weapons technology, especially for Saddam’s uranium enrichment program which used gas centrifuges.
(See: “Al Gore Blamed the Swiss for Helping Iraq Get the Bomb,” below)