JEP EXCLUSIVE: ‘I spied on Jersey for French secret service’
A FORMER Island finance worker has published a book claiming he acted as a spy for the French secret service and stole information from his employers for half a decade.
In his book Là Ou est L’Argent, which approximately translates as ‘There Lies the Money’, French national Maxime Renahy says that he operated undercover for the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure, the French equivalent of MI6, while working at one of the Island’s largest firms.
Mr Renahy, whose father was a left-wing radical and grandfather a French Resistance operative during the Second World War, was an employee of Mourant International Finance Administration, which was later bought by State Street Bank, between 2007 and 2012.
He worked in Jersey for more than three years before moving to the company’s Luxembourg branch.
Speaking exclusively to the JEP at the offices of his publishers in Paris, he claimed that during that time he:
- Mapped confidential corporate financial structures, indicating asset ownership of multinational companies and billionaires, for the DGSE, which shared the information with the French tax authorities.
- Regularly smuggled information to Paris using encrypted memory sticks.
- Befriended and seduced lawyers, accountants and compliance managers and extracted confidential information from them, which he relayed to intelligence agents.
- Helped the DGSE recruit further agents in the Island by ‘profiling’ other people he felt may be suitable.
- Assisted French hackers in targeting confidential information held on Jersey servers.
Mr Renahy, who trained as a French lawyer, said that he extracted information from social events and nights out with colleagues, as well as from older female lawyers and businesswomen with whom he had relationships.
The 40-year-old, who now works as a legal counsel, campaigner and author, claims that his work has been influential in tax cases in several European countries and helped prompt France’s blacklisting of the Island seven years ago, a move which was shortly revoked afterwards.
The French government has had long-standing issues with Jersey’s finance sector and blacklisted the Island as a non-co-operative tax jurisdiction, along with Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands, in 2012 under the administration of socialist president François Hollande.
Mr Renahy, who claims that networks of secret agents from several countries including the USA and Russia are also active in Jersey, said that he greatly enjoyed his time in the Island but ‘betrayed’ his colleagues and firm due to his left-wing political beliefs.
‘It is probably a paradox, but I really liked the people of Jersey and I have no anger regarding feelings towards even capitalism. I really liked Jersey. Its people welcomed me but I betrayed it,’ he said.
‘But I just thought that I need to share this information with my people to help them. The British do the same thing and are the best at it, so it is a fair game.’
He added that a history of dissident and covert action in his family, including his father being a member of the illegal Parti Marxistes-Léninistes de France (PCMLF), shaped his views, moulding him for espionage work in Jersey.
‘My grandfather was a member of the [French] Resistance in 1941 at 21-years-old. He saved lots of Jews and British aviators,’ he said.
‘In our family we have to help not just the country, but also the people. My father was, for ten years, working in a forbidden extreme-left political party during the 1960s. He was a high rank, so was used to living and working undercover.
‘My grandfather and my father are my role models in a kind of way and when I went by curiosity to Jersey, I was programmed [like that], so it was easy for me to take these actions.’
His book was published by Les Arènes yesterday and is currently only available in French. An English translation has been planned.
He has used false names in the book to protect his colleagues in Jersey, although some senior members of staff have been named. Mr Renahy was interviewed in a number reports by French national media agencies this week.