Through leaked data from Alp Services, the New Yorker found images taken of Souid’s apartment in 2017 with her son visibly inside.
A Qatar lobbyist in France has filed a case against the United Arab Emirates and Alp Services over the reported “invasion of her privacy,” following a probe that exposed Abu Dhabi’s influence in Paris.
On Thursday, lobbyist Sihem Souid filed a formal complaint to the Paris prosecutor’s office against the UAE government and the Swiss-based economic intelligence company, founded by Mario Brero.
“This complaint, formally filed against X, explicitly targets the UAE government and the Swiss agency Alp Services,” French investigative outlet Mediapart reported on Friday.
The development comes weeks after Mediapart found that a possible misinformation campaign against Qatar was carried out through a network reportedly coordinated by Alp Services on behalf of the UAE.
The campaign pushed out information linking Qatar to the Muslim Brotherhood through fake accounts.
Souid provided Mediapart at the time with documents and photos that pointed back to a UAE secret agent role in the campaign.
An Emirati client had also proposed to the Swiss agency to spy on “her husband and their company” in a bid to acquire “negative information,” the report stated.
In her complaint, the spokesperson from Qatar cited the “invasion of privacy”, “violation of the home”, “invasion of the secrecy of correspondence” and “theft”.
“It is my physical integrity and that of my loved ones who are directly endangered. It is absolutely necessary that an investigation be carried out on these facts which are not possible in a state of law,” Souid said.
Alp Services and Brero declined to provide Mediapart with a comment on the latest report, though the Swiss entity’s lawyer Christian Luscher asked the French outlet to “refrain from any publication”.
Luscher said that the information published by the French outlet would be based on “stolen” data and Alp was preparing to seek legal action against Mediapart.
The New Yorker’s report had also confirmed Mediapart’s investigation.
Through leaked data from Alp Services, the American outlet found images taken of Souid’s apartment in 2017, including one of her son inside the residence.
However, she was unable to confirm whether the images were taken through her window or if individuals broke into her apartment.
“I repeatedly spotted suspicious vehicles watching or following me. I had my purse stolen with my notes in front of the National Assembly during a meeting with a deputy,” Souid said.
Souid also questioned the connection between the images and events during which she claimed to be targeted between 2017 and 2018 by Alp Services.
“I was robbed of jewellery, but also an old mobile phone, my computer and notebooks. I moved out of this apartment in 2019 because of this burglary,” Souid said, recounting the incident from 2018.
The reported incidents took place during the height of tensions in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
In 2017, the GCC crisis was triggered when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Qatar.
At the time of the region’s worst dispute, which came to an end in 2021, the quartet imposed an illegal air, land and sea blockade on Qatar, accusing it of backing the Muslim Brotherhood.
The network was reportedly behind the publishing of the English and Arabic edition of the book “Qatar Papers”, which falsely accused Qatar of financing Muslim associations in Europe.
“Whatever the enmity that the UAE has for Qatar, it does not justify my being instrumentalised, targeted and destabilised in order to weaken my client,” Souid said.
Alp Services campaign against Lord Energy
The New Yorker recently published an extensive report on Alp Services’ role in carrying out a campaign against Hazim Nada, founder of Lord Energy, a Swiss-based oil trading company.
Nada and his company were reportedly subjected to a smear campaign, given that he is the son of the prominent Muslim Brotherhood member and banker Youssef Nada.
“Hazim Nada, who denies any financial link with the Brotherhood, subsequently experienced a veritable descent into hell: his bank closed his accounts and stopped financing Lord Energy, which finally went bankrupt in 2019,” Mediapart stated.
Mediapart also reported that a journalist from far-right weekly Valeurs Actuelles, Nicolas Clement, published an article targeting the entity stating it was close to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Tugdual Denis, deputy editor of Valeurs Actuelles, ruled out any role by Alp in the publication.
“I guarantee you that it is not a case of an order paper and that the journalist carried out his investigation with his various sources some of which were open. And I insist, we have had no contact with the company Alp Services,” Denis said.
The article was quoted twice in a post by “Tanya Klein,” a pseudonym given to a fake account under the Swiss firm’s reported goal of publishing or influencing up to 100 articles annually.
Klein had published 15 posts between 2018 and 2021 against Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood.
One article allegedly published by Alp on the Belgian website Histoiresroyales.fr, entailed accusations of murder and torture against a member of the Qatari royal family.
However, Nicolas Fontaine, editor of Histoiresroyales.fr. denied carrying out such sponsored publication, saying the Qatar article was based on “three sources.”
Last year, an investigation by Orient XXI found that the UAE was “discreetly” lobbying a key partner in France in an effort to present Qatar in a negative light.