Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

France: 2014 in review

Read more

#THE 51%

South Africa: Taking a stand against child marriage

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book

Read more

DEBATE

The Future of the Book (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

France 24’s best documentaries of 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'We have to build a new Tunisia', says the president of the Tunisian Parliament

Read more

FACE-OFF

France on alert after attacks: a case of collective hysteria?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'Beijing needs to revaluate its policy in the Tibetan areas', says FM of the Tibetan government-in-exile

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Uruguay: freed Guantanamo detainees try to adjust to normal life

Read more

France

Sarkozy allies under scrutiny over Karachi kickbacks

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-09-22

France’s “Karachigate” reared its head again Wednesday after police arrested an ally of President Sarkozy and began to question another, adviser Thierry Gaubert (pictured), over possible links to a corruption case involving arms sales to Pakistan.

REUTERS - A friend of French President Nicolas Sarkozy was arrested and another placed under investigation on Wednesday over their possible role in a corruption case linked to arms sales and deadly bombing in Pakistan, lawyers and police sources said.

The development brings the so-called “Karachi Affair” back into the spotlight seven months before a presidential election that polls show Sarkozy would lose if it were to be held today.
 
Thierry Gaubert, a friend and advisor to Sarkozy for many years, was placed under investigation on suspicion that he carried cash kickbacks from the sale of submarines to Pakistan back to France in suitcases.
 
Nicolas Baziere, who was a witness to Sarkozy’s wedding with Carla Bruni in 2008, was arrested and is being held in police custody over allegations that he received delivery of the kickbacks from Gaubert in Paris.
 
Both Baziere and Gaubert deny the accusations.
 
“He disputes anything to do with political financing,” Francois Esclatine, a lawyer for Gaubert, told Reuters.
 
Their legal troubles mark a twist in a complex case that aims to determine if a 2002 bomb attack in Karachi in which 11 French workers were killed was reprisal against France over its decision to stop paying commissions to Pakistan in arms sales.
 
It also envelops French politics because judges suspect that kickbacks helped to finance the presidential campaign of Edouard Balladur, a conservative and former prime minister, in 1995.  Baziere was chief of staff for Balladur, who denies the accusations.
 
Victims’ families have called for Sarkozy—who was budget minister under Balladur and spokesman for his campaign—to answer questions about the kickbacks and an elaborate financial setup allegedly designed to ferry home the money.
 
Sarkozy’s office brushed off the accusations in November, 2010, saying they “concerned him in no way”, and the president is immune from prosecution while in office.
 
When questioned about the kickbacks in late 2010 Sarkozy erupted at journalists, telling a group in Lisbon that linking him to the case was as absurd as him calling one of them a paedophile without any proof.
 
“It is clear that if Nicolas Sarkozy was not currently president of the republic, he would be heard because the paths lead to his responsibility,” said Olivier Morice, a lawyer for the victims’ families.

 

Date created : 2011-09-22

  • FRANCE

    Doubt cast on link between French bribes and Karachi bombing

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Kickback scandal tightens around ex-prime minister

    Read more

  • FRANCE - PAKISTAN

    President Sarkozy asked to testify over fatal Karachi bombing

    Read more

COMMENT(S)