Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Macron vs. Le Pen: France's bitter presidential run-off race (part 1)

Read more

REPORTERS

The booming business of cannabis in Spain

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Trump's First 100 Days, The Pope in Egypt (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Egypt's Coptic Christians targeted by Islamic State group

Read more

THE CAMPAIGN BEAT

France's wartime past takes centre stage in presidential campaign

Read more

#TECH 24

How one NGO is using 3D printers to improve disaster relief

Read more

REVISITED

What remains of Nicaragua’s revolution?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Macron vs Le Pen: The battle for France's top job

Read more

ENCORE!

Paris's Louis Vuitton Foundation showcases contemporary African art

Read more

France

De Villepin questioned over Chirac's alleged secret funds

Latest update : 2009-10-26

France's former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin (pictured) has been questioned as a potential witness over allegations that former President Jacques Chirac had a secret bank account in Japan.

AFP - France's former prime minister Dominique de Villepin has been questioned over rumours that former president Jacques Chirac held a secret Japanese bank account, his lawyer said Friday.
   
Judge Jean-Francois Redonnet, an investigating magistrate from the French Pacific territory of Tahiti, is probing the 1997 disappearance of a journalist who went missing after asking questions about Chirac's financial affairs.
   
Chirac has always denied the rumours that he maintained an account in Tokyo during his presidency.
   
On Thursday, Redonnet interviewed Villepin -- who served as Chirac's prime minister between May 2005 and May 2007 -- as a potential witness, the politician's lawyer Olivier d'Antin told AFP.
   
"It wasn't a big deal," D'Antin said. "The magistrate gets to talk to anyone he wants, and he wants to talk to a lot of people."
   
Despite Chirac's denials, the search for freelance reporter Jean-Pascal Couraud has periodically pushed the story back into the public domain.
   
France's foreign intelligence service, the DGSE, reportedly investigated the rumoured account, but any findings it made were protected as "defence secrets" until last year, when the defence ministry turned them over to the judge.
   
Couraud has not been seen since December 15, 1997 when he was investigating alleged transfers of large amounts of cash between a firm in French Polynesia and a bank account in Japan.
   
During the period in question, French Polynesia's regional government was headed by Gaston Flosse, who was known as a close ally of Chirac.
   
Redonnet has temporarily moved his investigation to Paris, where he is said to want to interview Chirac, as well as other senior figures from the time of the reporter's disappearance.
 

Date created : 2009-02-06

COMMENT(S)