Why did Sara Bronfman-Igtet and her husband, Basit Igtet, dash out of France so suddenly – and go to Portugal?
She had everything going for her in France. She was entrenched, ostensibly planning to live the rest of her life here. Then on a dime, she left.
We have more information, thanks to sources in France and elsewhere. The more we learn, the more it begs the question: Why did she leave her new home?
Sara and Basit [with Sara’s money] acquired a hotel called the Domain of Andéoles in the Luberon. They built a mansion to live in, at a fantastic price, which was just recently completed.
She was buying up land in the area. She bought a farm to grow produce for her hotel’s restaurants and reportedly had her eye on a golf course. She created a raft of companies – some 25 in total under her Athal Holdings umbrella – many of them put under the name of her CEO, Stefan Fraenkel, to disguise her actual ownership, as she began to take greater ownership control of the area.
She was working closely with Jacques Attali, the famous handler of French presidents. And top French leaders, it was told to me by an eyewitness source, came to her hotel to meet with her husband, and seek financial support from Sara.
There were discussions about building a casino.
Business is business but, for the longtime Nxivm financier, who lost more than $100 million for her beloved Nxivm mission, Sara had something more in mind for France. It was her start-over. The place to reestablish the golden teachings of her Vanguard, Keith Alan Raniere, now in federal custody awaiting sentencing for racketeering, forced labor, and sex trafficking.
After her own heart, Sara opened a school that was a Rainbow Cultural Garden under another name, ‘The Campus Beyond the School,” in the Town of Apt in the Luberon. It was approved by the Ministry of Education. In fact, the school was located on property owned by the town, rented to her by the city council and her friend, Mayor Dominique Santoni.
The couple bragged about their hotel, the Domain of Andeoles, as if it was one of a group of future hotel holdings: “Athal Hospitality is the new signature of the luxury hotel industry. … founded by Basit Igtet, an internationally renowned entrepreneur based in Zurich and renowned for its acquisitions of iconic hotels.
“With his wife, Sara Bronfman, a philanthropist and entrepreneur who has been involved for 15 years in education and the development of human potential, he has assembled a team of experts in the hospitality and lifestyle sectors….. A subtle balance between the three fundamentals of the group: art, nature and well-being guides the choice of each property.”
Sara also got favorable press for her Campus Beyond the School. A French correspondent for Frank Report, Cedric Our, informs us that Mayor Santoni attended the inaugural of the school on December 15, 2018, and did the ribbon cutting.
Sara was so proud of her new Rainbow school. Cedric wrote that the school was to be “a complement to the ‘traditional’ school, with language and cultural immersion workshops for children from 2 to 3 years and up to 18 years of age and over… The aim is ‘to enable children to achieve excellence, through an alternative pedagogy that favors languages and culture but also art, nature and the environment’… For the teaching of languages will come foreign-trained teachers of English, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Arab and German….. The teachings will also be based on the concepts of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) whose teachings are taught at Waldorf schools.”
Instead of staying and promoting her hotel and school, living in her mansion, overseeing their farm, their golf course, their various business enterprises, enjoying the company of important officials, Sara and Basit suddenly left France.
The school is closed. The hotel is reportedly set to close and not reopen.
What’s the reason?
Did she run afoul of local authorities in France? That seems doubtful. With her money, she could keep petty officials placated.
Rumors abounded in the town about her and her old Nxivm connections, thanks in part due to the efforts of journalist L’Heure De Se Réveiller.
But that would not be enough to make her flee. Not with all her new holdings in the Luberon.
What would be big enough to make the heiress run?
She ran from Albany after Raniere was exposed – and she left her mansion there vacant.
What immediately comes to mind is that the same entity that arrested her sister, Clare, the US DOJ for the Eastern District of New York, is seriously investigating her.
Unlike Sara, Clare never left her Vanguard’s side. She went with him to Mexico and came back after he was arrested. Clare was arrested and ultimately convicted on two felony counts and will be sentenced on April 23.
Is Sara facing up to the possibility, real or suspected, that she too could be indicted, like her sister, for her own high crimes in the operations and funding of the Nxivm racketeering enterprise?
Sara had a higher rank in Nxivm than Clare. While Clare worked directly with Raniere, Sara worked hand-in-hand with convicted racketeer and Nxivm president, Nancy Salzman.
What is worse for Sara is that, unlike Raniere, Salzman could be cooperating with the feds and has plenty of information – especially of the tax evasion variety – on Sara. This could spell millions in seizures for the feds of Sara’s assets if she is convicted.
The tax evasion surrounding her and her sister’s $65 million gift to Raniere for commodities investment, which they misreported as a loan, creating phantom interest payments for a phantom loan to avoid gift tax, could be enough to land her in a racketeering indictment.
On top of that, there were instances of perjury and funding of lawsuits where there frauds were committed upon the court- all funded by Sara. How much did she know?
Would the Nxivm Prefect, Nancy Salzman, be willing to inform on Sara to shave off a little time from her own prison sentence?
What we do know is that Sara Bronfman rearranged her life, relocated with her husband, and became one of the leading figures in the Luberon in France.
And just as suddenly as she left Albany, she has left France. She refused to come to the US to help her sister post part of her $100 million bail. She sent her husband, Basit, instead.
Portugal may offer a better, more easily purchased sanctuary than France – and better protection from extradition.
It may also be only a temporary dodge. She may be headed somewhere else.
Imagine how demented this must seem to some. A Bronfman on the run. She had it all and threw it all away to follow a crazed monster named Keith Raniere. But even with all her wealth, it seems she can only run but not hide.
No, wherever she goes – and that may indeed be prison in time – her relationship with the demon Raniere will haunt her forever.
Viva Executive Success!