Read our portraits of six establishment figures on trial for their alleged roles in the Angolagate scandal.
Falcone, 54, along with Arcadi Gaydamak, is one of the central figures in the case. He is accused of illegal arms trading and influence-peddling. Falcone, known for his expensive clothes and manicured image, declared to the court that he earns four million euros a year and has a property portfolio worth a further 15 million. He holds French and Angolan nationality and also has a Brazillian ID card.
Gaydamak fled to Israel in 2000 and was absent from the opening of the trial. Born in Russia and claiming Angolan, Canadian, French and Israeli citizenship, the businessman is now standing as a candidate in forthcoming local elections in Jerusalem. According to police, his official identity documents list three different dates of birth and even another name – Bar Lev Arye.
Mitterand, the oldest son of the former French president François, is suspected of handling 2.6 million euros as a middleman in the affair and to have put the arms sellers in direct contact with the Angolan government. Accused of complicity in illegal arms trading, Mitterand faces five years in jail and a fine of 375,000 euros if convicted. He denies all charges against him, says that he lives with his mother and owns no property.
Successful novelist Paul-Loup Sulizer is accused of receiving 380,000 euros to use his influence in the media to improve the public image of Gaydamak and Falcone. Sulizer, who said the trial was “a masquerade”, writes novels on financial intrigues and recently published “Le Roi Rouge” (The Red King), a fictionalised portrait of the Angloagate affair. He is facing five years jail.
Attali is a renowned economist who has advised the French government on fundamental economic reforms to speed up the French economy. He is also a writer and head of a non-profit NGO. The 65-year-old is accused of using his influence to help Falcone’s company with a tax issue linked to the alleged arms deals. He told the court he earns 1.2 million euros a year, mostly through royalties from his writing. He faces five years in jail if convicted.
Former Interior Minister and ex-head of the Hauts-de-Seine General Council in Paris, Pasqua is now a member of the French Senate. He is accused of having received many hundreds of thousands of dollars by lobbying for Angolan interests. The 81-year-old appeared in court on the first day of the trial in a visibly rumpled suit. He claims the charges against him form part of a plot to keep him out of the 2002 presidential elections.
Date created : 2008-10-09