Madagascan-French citizen solicited €10 million support to topple government – Oil firm confirms

It could be recalled that, Madagascan security operatives on Thursday foiled an assassination attempt on President Andry Rajoelina and other top officials. The emerging details reveal that the assassins sought support from a multi-national oil firm – Benchmark Group. 

According to reports from Madagascan media, the information came to the fore following intense police investigation. The said email exchange was reportedly found on the laptops of a French citizen identified as Paul R which was earlier linked to the coup attempt.

When questioned, the Benchmark Group which holds a controlling share in Madagascar Oil confirmed that the plotters of the coup contacted the firm for financial assistance to help topple the current government. The company said it had “received an email from the Madagascan-French citizen Paul R. soliciting 10 million euros for political destabilisation purposes”.

According to an exclusive information available to The African reporters, “the man who is now seen as the instigator of the attempted coup is said to have promised to smooth out the company’s operations in the country.” The report added that, “he would be able to get the contracts that Madagascar Oil is currently negotiating signed.”

Per the laws of the country, the oil firm’s breach of “Duty to inform” can be tagged as complicity of the crime as that act of silence threatened the security of the country. State controlled media outlet, Taratra disclosed that the firm’s managing director was invited by the police to assist in the investigation. The media also revealed that, apart from Benchmark, the plotters also approached mining firms for assistance.

The Madagascan Minister for Public Security, Rodellys Randrianariso earlier revealed that Six people including two French nationals were arrested in connection with the assassination plot which was foiled by the police. 

“According to all the investigations we have made, the people arrested are involved in the assassination attempt of the Head of State of Madagascar. The arrests followed all the norms. The arrests were not made by mercenaries but by the police. Six people were arrested. Among them, two Malagasy are bi-nationals, there is also a foreigner and the others are Malagasy,” he said.

Meanwhile, investigators retrieved more than 930,000 euros and a firearm through a thorough search at the residence of one of the two French suspects.

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