List of 47 Norwegians involved in the UAE Intelligence Service Revealed

A leaked document has revealed a list of 47 Norwegians who were part of an extensive Swiss influence operation commissioned by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The process encompassed over 1,000 Europeans, with the UAE reportedly paying a substantial sum of at least 5.7 million euros (approximately 60 million Norwegian kroner) between 2017 and 2020 for the execution of the operation.

Among those identified in the operation is Basim Ghozlan, associated with the Rabita Mosque in Oslo. However, Ghozlan vehemently denies any affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, as claimed by the UAE.

The operation appears to be an extension of the UAE’s longstanding rivalry with Qatar and its opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood. The operation’s exposure came to light following a data breach at Alp Services.

French online newspaper Mediapart, in collaboration with other media outlets, including VG through the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) network, obtained access to the leaked documentation. It is important to note that neither EIC nor VG paid for access to the material.

An infographic titled “A Mafia-Like Continental Network” was found among the leaked documents addressed to the secret services of the United Arab Emirates. The infographic listed numerous individuals across Europe, connected by arrows as if depicting a network of radical Islamists.

The leaked documents, obtained by the investigative French newspaper Mediapart, reveal that private investigators from Alp Services sent the names of more than 1,000 Europeans, including nearly 50 Norwegians, to the UAE intelligence service in Abu Dhabi. It is worth noting that many individuals on the list have no actual affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Basim Ghozlan, associated with the Rabita Mosque in Oslo, categorically denies involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood. Ghozlan expressed his disbelief, stating, “The majority of the people on this list should not be on it. It is a mockery of the truth and clearly shows that someone is trying to create a false image.”

An examination of the Norwegian list reveals that Alp Services, the Swiss company behind the operation, linked individuals ranging from terrorists and a politician to housing cooperatives and a primary school association to the Muslim Brotherhood. It is important to note that while the UAE classifies the Muslim Brotherhood as a “terrorist organization,” Norway does not share the same classification.

The operation was led by Mario Brero, a 71-year-old veteran of the Swiss private investigation industry and the head of Alp Services agency. Brero founded the company in Geneva over three decades ago. Brero has declined to respond to questions regarding the case, but his lawyers claim that the leaked documents are partially falsified and that the underlying facts are based on erroneous assumptions and improbable statements.

They criticize the publication of “stolen data” and have threatened legal action against Mediapart in Swiss courts. There has been no response from the United Arab Emirates or the agent known as Matar regarding the revelations.

The operation was initiated on August 7, 2017, when Mario Brero and one of his employees visited an agent named Matar in Abu Dhabi. During a dinner meeting, Brero presented his plan to Matar—a comprehensive operation aimed at mapping and subsequently discrediting the enemies of the UAE through the discreet and extensive dissemination of compromising information.

The operation can be seen as an extension of the UAE’s longstanding rivalry with neighbouring Qatar and its opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood. Brero proposed to “expose” and “destroy” the Muslim Brotherhood’s network in Europe by influencing the public and political leaders.

In subsequent visits to Abu Dhabi, Brero and his team met with Ali Saeed Al-Neyadi, believed to be a loyal associate of Tahnoun bin Zayed al Nahyan, the UAE’s national security advisor and the brother of the country’s president, Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan.

Tahnoun and his business empire have been linked to various controversial activities involving the UAE, including allegations of mass surveillance of its citizens through the messaging app ToTok and providing weapons support in conflicts in Libya and Yemen.

To secure financial support, Mario Brero highlighted that Alp Services had previously worked for “wealthy personalities, governments, heads of state, and law firms.” He promised to mobilize his network of journalists, consultants, and investigators.

The first contract for the operation was signed in October 2017, and the leaked documents indicate that Alp Services billed at least 5.7 million euros between 2017 and 2020.

Alp Services produced dozens of investigative reports focusing on individuals and networks, including several related to Norway.
Basim Ghozlan’s name appears in nearly all the reports concerning Norway. Alp Services seems to extensively scrutinize Ghozlan and his connections, with much of the information sourced from the immigration and Islam-critical foundation, Human Rights Service, led by Hege Storhaug.

In response to the revelations, Ghozlan asserts, “In my opinion, the intelligence service in Abu Dhabi has received a worthless report. If you just look at my Facebook or read the newspaper, you can see what I stand for.” He denies any affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood. He believes the reports are based on false accusations, suggesting they aim to substantiate conspiracy theories that fuel Islamophobia in the West.

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