Press Release / / 10.26.20

Response to French and Russian Government Statements on Central African Republic “State of Prey” Report

Statement by The Sentry – October 26, 2020

Response to French and Russian Government Statements on Central African Republic “State of Prey” Report

On Monday, October 19, 2020, The Sentry published a new report “State of Prey,” detailing an array of crises in the Central African Republic (CAR) linked to transnational organized criminal activity and terror financing, rampant trafficking of gold and other resources, money laundering, high-level corruption, foreign political interference in upcoming elections, and the rise of a violent proxy war between pro-French and pro-Russian actors looting the country’s natural wealth.

Following publication of the report, the French Foreign Ministry responded claiming that the report’s findings related to France were “completely unfounded.” On behalf of the Russian government, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to comment on the report. Neither government has given any specific detail or evidence to counter The Sentry’s findings.

The Sentry’s findings and analysis are based on extensive interviews with people with direct knowledge of the conduct described in the report, including politicians, members of parliament, members and leaders of armed groups, intelligence and security officers, civil society and civilians from several different parts of the country, and current and former French diplomats and officials. The Sentry’s investigators and analysts have been carrying out investigations in CAR for almost five years, gathering hard-hitting evidence that supports The Sentry’s findings.

Accounts from these wide-ranging perspectives were consistent about French and Russian involvement in the conflict in the Central African Republic, highlighting a pattern of these foreign powers conducting a proxy war by exploiting regional and local actors to advance their political, economic, and geostrategic agendas.

John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “As foreign powers have intensified their struggle for influence in CAR, the country has developed into a breeding ground for transnational criminal networks. The Sentry stands by its reporting and will engage with relevant policymakers, banks, regulatory bodies, and law enforcement agencies to help address the multilayered crises in CAR with concrete actions to support transparency, accountability, and sustainable peace.”

Nathalia Dukhan, Senior Investigator at The Sentry, said: “The Sentry’s year-long investigation was rigorous, built upon extensive interviews in CAR and on several continents as well as upon documents, photographs, and video recordings that further support the report’s findings. Those we interviewed consistently described similar patterns and dynamics unfolding with regard to networks of French and Russian actors fueling instability in CAR. The Sentry’s investigation identified serious regional and international security concerns as the country hurtles toward an uncertain presidential election. Governments and multilateral organizations engaged with CAR need to take these issues seriously.”

Read the full “State of Prey” report: https://thesentry.org/reports/state-of-prey/

Press release, “State of Prey” report (October 19, 2020):

https://thesentry.org/2020/10/19/4707/sentry-report-france-vs-russia-proxy-war-central-african-republic/

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310-717-0606, gh@thesentry.org

 

ABOUT THE SENTRY

The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment in East and Central Africa, the deadliest war zone globally since World War II, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is a strategic partner of the Clooney Foundation for Justice.

Learn more at www.TheSentry.org.

Learn more at www.TheSentry.org.