Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ACROSS AFRICA

Biafran separatists allege brutal crackdown

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DRC opposition protests: At least one person killed in clashes in Goma

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Chinese washing detergent ad "whitens" a black man

Read more

THE DEBATE

Obama in Japan: Competing world visions at G7 summit (part 2)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Obama in Japan: Will his final G7 mark end of an era? (part 1)

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Baltimore residents react to latest verdict in Freddie Gray case

Read more

ENCORE!

Paris photography festival shines a spotlight on young, emerging talents

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Are company bosses paid too much?

Read more

FOCUS

Spain: Employees denounce their working conditions in Catalonia's abattoirs

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)