Switzerland’s Le Temps newspaper has today confirmed that Nicolas Giannakopoulos has been suspended from his position at Geneva University following concerns published by Sarawak Report about his apparent funding by the Malaysian Government to spy on its opponents.
Giannakopoulos has been linked to an extensive network of agents in the pay of BN leader Najib Razak’s private office to befriend and then feed back information on people who have been critical of the corruption scandal 1MDB or are merely political opponents or voices from civil society movements.
After initially telling Malaysian invited guests to a seminar at Geneva University that the event was funded and sponsored as part of a university programme under its Global Studies Institute, Giannakopoulos and is superior Dr Frederik Esposito later conceded that the event costing CHF17,000 had been funded privately and had nothing directly to do with the University.
Giannakopuolos then spent many further thousands of dollars flying around the globe to further engage and talk with opposition leaders and the author of this blog on the basis that he had inside information on the 1MDB investigation, owing to supposed contacts in the Government.
When challenged about who was paying, Giannakopoulos who runs two private investigations agencies alongside his supposed academic role at the university said he was doing it all out of his “own pocket” as part of his “duty as a citizen”. He then said he was being supported by “Swiss Institutions” acting through the University. Later he told enquirers that these institutions were Swiss Cantons.
His boss within the department Dr Esposito on the other hand told enquirers he understood the money came from the Swiss Confederation. However, he has later acknowledged that he was mistaken and did not actually know how Giannakopoulos has been funding programmes through the Organised Crime Observatory, which is part of his Department’s Observatory on Security.
This is the translation of the article today from the Geneva newspaper Le Temps:
Nicolas Giannakopoulos is the subject of an equiry over his sources of funding. At issue is a seminar he organized last October and dedicated to the 1MDB affair, the biggest financial scandal of the decade
Nicolas Giannakopoulos has been laid off, Le Temps has learned. The Deputy Director of the University Security Observatory in Geneva (OUS), who is also the President of the Observatory of Organized Crime (OCO), is being investigated. The focus of the enquiry is the origin of the funds he invested in a seminar on Malaysia 1MDB, considered the biggest financial scandal of the decade.
Read also: The strange seminar of Doctor Giannakopoulos
“I take the questions posed on the margins of this seminar very seriously, and I have asked the person concerned to stay in the background while I conduct a close examination,” confirms Prof. Frédéric Esposito, the direct supervisor of Nicolas Giannakopoulos at the OUS.
This decision is the result of an article by the British journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown, questioning the role of the Geneva researcher in a meeting organized by the latter in October 2016 and placed under the aegis of the University of Geneva , In the presence of opponents of power in Kuala Lumpur, as well as people active in the investigation of the disappearance of billions of dollars from Malaysia.
Investigations of the Geneva alma mater
According to Nicolas Giannakopoulos, the meeting, which would have cost 17,000 francs – including plane tickets and accommodation – was financed by the latter without any external assistance. This is what the editor of the blog Sarawak Report is questioning.
What means does the USS have to shed light on the actions of its deputy director?
“I appealed to the services of the University of Geneva to support me in this analysis which I hope to be able to carry out quickly,” concludes Professor Frédéric Esposito.
Nicolas Giannakopoulos, suspected of being an agent of the Malaysian government and responsible for collecting sensitive information concerning the 1MDB investigation, defended himself from any ties with the authorities in Kuala Lumpur, via a press release issued last Tuesday.
[*SR regrets an error in our earlier version of this report, where we were informed a judgement had been reached in the Low case in California. This is not yet so]