Frank Schneider, the founder and CEO of Luxembourg intelligence agency Sandstone, has won a landmark case against a government minister.
Yesterday the Minister for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure, Francois Bausch of the Green Party, wassentenced by a Luxembourg court for having abused his position.
The court found that Bausch, who at the time was also Chairman of the Parliamentary Control Commission on Intelligence, the secret service watchdog, misrepresented privileged information on his personal blog for political gain, causing libellous and defamatory moral damage to Mr Schneider, former Operations Chief of the country’s secret service, and to the respected due diligence consultancy Mr Schneider founded in 2008 after leaving the service of his country.
Minister Bausch is the first and only person to be condemned by the justice system for wrongdoing related to the 2013 spy scandal that brought down the government headed by then Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, now president of the European Commission. In the first half of 2013, as a Member of Parliament and an opposition politician, Francois Bausch initiated the investigation into the so called “SREL Affair” – a scandal involving high-level politicians and the country’s top secret service intelligence agents.
“Mr Bausch’s parliamentary enquiry had one goal – to topple Juncker’s government and put the current government into power,” said Mr Schneider.
Mr Schneider, who was represented in court by his lawyer Laurent Ries, had filed a complaint in 2013 against Minister Bausch’s misuse of privileged information due to a defamatory blog post that violated the parliamentary responsibility that then MP Bausch had pledged to respect.
Despite the attempted smear against Mr Schneider and his agency – he claimed €500,000 in damages, of which the court recognized one symbolic Euro – Sandstone continues to grow under his direction and has quickly established itself as one of Europe’s prime boutique intelligence firms.
“We will appeal the monetary damages,” said Mr Schneider, “But I am delighted that the most important victory has been won: this case is about truth in democracy and about honour and respect for the years of service and sacrifice that I made to my country.”
Sandstone SA is a due diligence and competitive intelligence solution provider based in Luxembourg, whose mission is to provide clients with high value commercial intelligence services.
The consultancy achieves its mission through in-depth experience, creative solutions and a broad base of knowledge in political, economic, financial and technical areas.
Sandstone was founded in Luxembourg in 2008 by a team of security experts with many years of international experience.