“I worked for American and French intelligence agencies. They approached me. With their blessing, I was allowed to sell weapons to certain regimes and groups. It was the perfect cover to win their trust and gather information that Western Intelligence agencies needed.”
September 17 2019 — Jacques Monsieur is a Belgian convicted large arms trafficker. He is considered one of the biggest weapons smugglers in the world ever. Monsieur is currently incarcerated in Saint-Gilles Prison, Brussels. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
RELATED POST: Flashback — When Belgium Exported Nuke Tech to Iran
In 2018, Monsieur was sentenced to four years in prison by the Court of Appeals in Brussels and fined €1.2 million. He subsequently fled. He was arrested in Portugal in August 2019.
Jacques Monsieur is often described as one of the world most important arms dealer. Yet, very little is known about him. His Wikipedia page is about two sentences long.
Monsieur has consistently denied being an arms dealer at all, claiming it was a cover for his activities in the service of various intelligence organisations.
Monsieur’s arms trafficking earned him an estimate of nine million euros. He still owns more than 100 real-estate properties.
Circa 1953 — Jacques Monsieur is born in the Flemish part of Belgium. His father was a public notary.
Early years — Monsieur attends a Jesuit school. Later, he began to study Law at the university of Leuven. (I suspect that the first year did not go very well…)
Next, he joins the Belgian Military school and served until 1976 in the army.
Following graduation [Reserve officer], Monsieur moves to Portugal where he studies equestrianism with Nuno Oliveira, a well known master. While in Portugal, it is rumored that the US DIA approaches Monsieur.
Circa 1979 — After two years in Portugal, Monsieur returns to Belgium and enrols as a military officer. Monsieur claims that he was contacted by the Belgium Intelligence Services around that time.
Early 80s — Monsieur starts his own company: Matimco (Matériel, armements, technologies industrielles et militaires). The company is located very close to the NATO headquarters in Brussels.
His first recorded activities date back to 1985. Monsieur travels to Tehran and offers to sell a variety of much needed weapons and equipment.
Analysis — Monsieur knew exactly what the Iranian military needed. He knew how to acquire the weapons and how to bypass the embargo. There can be no doubt that a US intelligence agency was masterminding the operation with possibly some help from their Belgian counterparts.
NB — The Iran-Contra Affair was a US operation, run directly from the White House, during which Israeli weapons were provided to Iran despite an arms embargo. The profit of these arms sales was used to fund the Contras in Nicaragua despite strict prohibition by an Act of Congress (the Boland Amendment).
1986 — Belgium Customs officers arrest David “Benelie” [Real name David Azoulay born in Morocco], an Israeli citizen. In his suitcase, the Belgian officers find dozen of important documents used by arms traffickers to bypass an embargo. Benelie used to live in a building belonging to Jacques Monsieur. His brother was a high ranking officer of the Mossad. And it is likely that David Azoulay was himself a Mossad officer.
Analysis — As an obscure newspaper broke the news of the IranGate, both the Americans and the Israeli wanted to cover up the scandal. It seems obvious that Benelie’s suitcase was meant to be discovered… And yet, despite the evidence against him, Monsieur is not investigated for his activities. Nevertheless, Monsieur decides to stay away from Belgium.
The 90’s — During the 80’s, Monsieur was mostly involved in the sales of weapons to Iran. But he also dealt with China and Poland. Now, the Iraq-Iran war is over but there is no lack of conflicts in the world. Monsieur will focus his activities in the Balkan and in various African countries.
1993 — Monsieur buys a property — domaine des Amourettes — in Lignières, a commune in the Cher department of France.
Coincidence? Major arms societies are located in this part of France, including Luchaire, later GIAT industries. And of course, the Luchaire scandal was the French IranGate….
The ”Luchaire affair,” which takes its name from a French arms company that illegally sold a half million artillery shells to Iran between 1983 and 1986, bears at least a superficial similarity to the Iran-contra scandal in the United States.
In violation of a French ban on arms sales to Iran, senior aides to the Socialist who was Defense Minister at the time, Charles Hernu, apparently turned a blind eye to Luchaire’s lucrative dealings and, if the company’s chairman is to be believed, accepted kickbacks of as much as $500,000. President Mitterrand was supposedly told of the illegal sales in 1984, but did not halt them. (…)
The double-edged nature of the Luchaire imbroglio was made clear today when Denis Baudouin, the Prime Minister’s spokeman, found himself denying that arms sales to Iran continued after Mr. Chirac came to power at the head of a rightist coalition in March 1986. There have been persistent reports that Luchaire continued its illegal exports by routing them through Belgium. [New York Time : Arms Scandal Puts Mitterrand on Defensive (Nov 8 1987)]
1993 — 1996 — During the Balkan war, Monsieur armed both the Croatian and the Bosnian armed forces between 1993 and 1996, once again bypassing the UN embargo.
These sales involved manufacturers from several Eastern European countries, but also from Iran, Argentina and China. When questioned about these deals in 2000, Monsieur claims that he had been commissioned by the CIA to weaken the Serbian forces.
1996 — During a search of his French domicile, a team of Belgian and French Police officers discover a trove of 3,000 documents related to arms trafficking.
1997 — Monsieur’s new customers are the Burundi, which he supplies during the civil war with weapons, and Congo Brazzaville. In 1997, he supports the then President Pascal Lissouba, who appointed him as a consultant, with combat helicopters and missiles worth $ 61 million.
When Lissouba is overthrown by his worst rival Sassou-Nguesso, Monsieur comes into business with him. He soon expands his African business to Angola, but Charles Taylor in Liberia and the rebels he supports in Sierra Leone also enjoy Monsieur’s deals, embargo or not. In Kinshasa, he introduces an exchange of Congolese raw materials for Iranian weapons.
1998 — Monsieur continues his business as usual. But, in 1998, Monsieur began fighting — and blackmailing — the ELF group for the non-payment of the weapons he sold to Congo-Brazzaville…
1999 — New search of his domicile. This time, Monsieur is no longer allow to travel abroad.
“In May 1999, for the second time, the police raided its central French country estate in Lignières, where Monsieur devotes himself to the 100-hectare horse-breeding farm. Thousands of documents, invoices, payment slips, faxes and catalogs are secured, shedding light on Monsieur’s complicated and dubious transactions. On the basis of these documents, he is accused of arms sales to Iran, Iraq and Venezuela, but released. Again and again, the suspicion is expressed that he is repeatedly covered by highest authority.”
2000 — Monsieur spends a short period in Provence, south of France. Then, despite an interdiction to travel, Monsieur disappears… When he resurfaces, he is in possession of an Ivorian passport.
November 2000 — Monsieur reappears in Iran, where he has many influent friends. Yet, in November, he is “arrested” on charges of espionage.
“However, after one year he is arrested for espionage and sentenced in December 2001 by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran to ten years in prison.
The sentence is finally turned into a $ 400,000 fine after spending two years in jail. It is rumored that from the beginning it was a well-arranged thing. It was just a matter of hiding Monsieur.”
March 12 2001 — France Justice Department issues a international arrest warrant for Jacques Monsieur. [«Commerce de matériel de guerre et de munitions sans autorisation du ministère de la Défense»]
“Monsieur s’est souvent fourni en armes auprès de Modelex, la société d’armement de l’Etat iranien, du matériel (bombes, munitions, mines antipersonnel, tourelles de char…) ensuite revendu en Bosnie, au Qatar, en Afrique du Sud ou au Congo-Brazzaville.” [Liberation]
2002 — Monsieur is sentenced (Trial in absentia) to 10 years but is released after payment of a half million dollar fine. He stays in Iran after his release from jail knowing that he will be arrested if he returns to Europe. He has been sentenced to 5 years in jail by a Belgian court.
Fall 2002 — Monsieur decide to return to Belgium but he is arrested during a stop-over in Turkey on the basis of an international warrant issued simultaneously by France and Belgium. He spends 5 months in jail. Finally, in December 2002, he is re-judged in Belgium where he receives a light sentence. (No jail time)
2008 — Monsieur is also wanted by France. So he is extradited and judged. Once again, he receives a light sentence. (No jail time)
August 28 2009 — Monsieur is arrested in New York on charges alleging that he conspired to illegally export F-5 fighter jet engines and parts from the United States to Iran.
September 22 2010 — Monsieur was expected to spend many years in prison. (He was facing a 65 years sentence.) And yet, he is sentenced to 23 months. The light sentence is “explained” by his collaboration with the Justice Department…
“He is expected to face a maximum sentence of 65 years, but he comes to the general astonishment with a sentence of 23 months and is released after six months.”
2017 — A Belgian court finds Monsieur guilty of illegal arms exports. This time, he is sentenced to 3 years and a €300,000 fine. Monsieur appeals the decision.
“The specific charges on which he was convicted included the sale of 100,000 automatic weapons to Libya, tanks and helicopters to Guinea-Bissau, military materials to Iran, 200,000 automatic firearms and ammunition, military helicopters and aircraft to Chad (at the time of a civil war in the country), and rocket launchers and machine guns to Pakistan.”
October 2018 — Jacques Monsieur is given a tougher sentence on appeal than he had received in his original trial. Monsieur must now serve four years in prison instead of three, and pay a fine increased from €300,000 to €1.2 million.
Monsieur was not immediately arrested and taken into custody as one more appeal process — the Court of Cassation — remained available to him. The court ruled that he could remain at liberty until a decision was taken by the Court of Cassation.
March 2019 — Monsieur had a “haras” in Tarascon, south of France. He sold the stud farm in March 2019 and vanished away.
April 8 2019 — The court sentenced Monsieur to 4 years in prison and he will have to pay a (very small) fine of 1.2 million euros. Monsieur is nowhere to be found…
August 14 2019 — Jacques Monsieur is arrested in Portugal. He was held at a large farmhouse located in Herdade do Jambujal, near the Portuguese town of Evora on August 14 2019.
An unpaid 2,500-euro bill for transporting nine of his favourite horses to Portugal put Belgian FAST [Fugitive Active Search Team] investigators on Monsieur’s trail.
August 22 2019 — Belgian FAST [Fugitive Active Search Team] investigators transfer Jacques Monsieur from Portugal to Belgium. Jacques Monsieur is incarcerated in the Saint-Gilles Prison.
There is no doubt whatsoever that Monsieur was working in collaboration with various Western Intelligence Agencies. And he certainly has a lot of stories to tell… Will he finally speak?
PS — The life of Jacque Monsieur reads like a thriller and there is no need to make up sub-stories. Yet some coincidences are worth knowing. Here is just one example.
While living in France, his neighbour was Jean Paul James Andanson, a famous French photograph. On May 4 2000, Andanson was found dead in his car. The circumstances of his death [“suicide”] remain a mystery to this day.
Andanson was a friend and the photographer of Pierre Bérégovoy who served as Prime Minister of France under President François Mitterrand from April 2 1992 to 29 March 1993. Pierre Bérégovoy committed suicide by shooting himself on May 1 1993. Many experts have disputed the thesis of Bérégovoy’s suicide…
Jacques Monsieur , trafic d’armes
Jacques Monsieur le voisin de James Andanson — Rendez-vous avec Mr X du 14 & 21 Nov 2009
Les armes secrètes de M. Monsieur — Libération
Jacques Monsieur — Wikipedia
Biography — Jacques Monsieur [Belgian Arms Dealer]