Details are emerging in the latest scandal to hit France’s political elite: the so-called “Karachi Affair”. Allegations put President Nicolas Sarkozy in the line of fire. That’s the focus in today’s French press review: MONDAY, 22nd NOVEMBER 2010
Libération looks at the latest scandal to hit Nicolas Sarkozy, known here as the "Karachi Affair". It concerns possible illegal kickbacks from defence sales to Pakistan, with funds allegedly used for political campaign funding. The paper quotes a former top official in the arms sector in France, Michel Mazens, saying there were “retro-commissions”. The former official, however, is quoted as saying “they did not have a link to a bomb attack in Karachi in 2002”, in which 15 people were killed. It's being argued the bomb attack was retaliation over unpaid bribes. The paper’s editorial stresses that complex investigations are underway and they must run their course. This is not the time to "jump to conclusions", it says. In one of its stories, it argues there is “No respite for the Elysée”. The ongoing Bettencourt scandal also centres on allegations of illegal campaign funding.
The investigative website Mediapart, which revealed key elements in the Bettencourt scandal, is hot on the trail of this latest scandal. It says it has new documents pointing to President Sarkozy when he served as Budget Minister under then-Prime Minister Edouard Balladur in 1994.
Le Figaro leads on the Pope’s comments on condom use. The paper reports he has “softened” his position on sexual morality by saying it is better to use a condom than to spread a deadly disease such as AIDS. It points out that the Vatican has long been criticised on its stance.
The Catholic Daily La Croix, in its front page editorial, argues that the way the media has leapt on the story should be a source of rejoicing for the Vatican because it shows the Church is being listened to. The paper quotes a professor of moral theology Xavier Lacroix who says that the Pope’s comments are an “evolution not a revolution”.
And back to Le Figaro, which has a photo of the future Mr Middleton aka Prince William. It reports on British tabloid surveys over the weekend indicating that one in three Britons would back Charles to become King but more than half would back William. It quotes the UK’s Sunday Times as saying only 15 per cent believe Charles would be a better King than William. The paper notes that you have to go back to 1997 for William to outdo his Dad in the surveys.The royal wedding hype has only just begun.