Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

Trash collection goes high tech

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users react to escalating violence in Gaza

Read more

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

  • Germany defeat Argentina 1-0 to win World Cup

    Read more

  • Thousands flee northern Gaza after Israeli warning

    Read more

  • Clashes erupt in Paris as thousands march to support Palestinians

    Read more

  • Major differences remain as deadline looms in Iran nuclear talks

    Read more

  • Paris’s Bastille Day fireworks ‘a homage to victims’ of WWI

    Read more

  • Rival Libyan militias exchange heavy fire at Tripoli airport

    Read more

  • French military to extend Mali 'counterterrorism' operations into Sahel

    Read more

  • Legendary conductor Lorin Maazel dies aged 84

    Read more

  • Germany’s Tony Martin wins ninth stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Boko Haram claims Nigeria attacks and supports Iraqi militants

    Read more

  • French court lifts mayor’s ban on Muslim hijab at beach

    Read more

  • Shells land in Russia as eastern Ukrainians flee fighting

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament fails to agree on new leadership

    Read more

  • Afghan presidential candidates agree to full vote audit, Kerry says

    Read more

France

Former PM 'suspects' graft in submarine sales scandal

©

Video by Josh Vardey

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-11-26

Former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin told a court he had "strong suspicions" that French officials received kickbacks from arms sales to Pakistan, but saw no link between the freeze of kickbacks and a deadly 2002 attack.

AFP - A French judge questioned former prime minister Dominique de Villepin on Thursday about corruption allegations linked to the deaths of 11 French engineers in a Pakistani bombing in 2002.
  
Villepin, who was questioned for four hours as a witness by investigating magistrate Renaud Van Ruymbeke, had said Friday he had "very strong suspicions" that French officials received illegal payments related to arms deals in 1995.
  

Witnesses have alleged the Pakistan bombing was revenge for the cancelling of kickbacks paid to officials in the arms deals, in a complex case linked to alleged illegal political funding and implicating President Nicolas Sarkozy.
  
But Villepin said Thursday after meeting the judge that he had told him "that in my view there cannot be any link between the Karachi attack and the stopping of the payment of the commissions."
  
Villepin was chief of staff to then President Jacques Chirac, who cancelled the commissions after he took office in 1995 because he suspected they would lead to kickbacks to his political rival Edouard Balladur, a Sarkozy ally.
  
Villepin is also Sarkozy's bitterest political rival and likely to run against him for president in 2012.
  
Witnesses have also alleged Sarkozy, budget minister at the time of the arms deal and Balladur's campaign spokesman, was linked to the commissions.
  
The current French leader has angrily dismissed talk of his involvement as a "fairy tale" and denies any knowledge of kickbacks.
  
The bombing in Karachi in 2002 killed 11 French engineers and at least three Pakistanis. Relatives of the French victims plan to sue Villepin and Chirac for manslaughter and have called for Sarkozy to testify.
  
The lawyer acting for the relatives, Olivier Morice, was present Thursday when Villepin was being questioned by the judge.
  
He said after the hearing that the former prime minister had told the judge that he strongly believed that the kickbacks helped finance Balladur's failed presidential election campaign in 1995.

Date created : 2010-11-25

  • FRANCE

    Sarkozy's party under fire for alleged kickbacks in Pakistani sub deal

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Submarines and subtext: Who's who in 'Karachigate'

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)