Defendants trade accusations over fraudulent list

Computer expert Imad Lahoud and his former boss Jean-Louis Gergorin (pictured) return to court Tuesday after trading accusations over who took the initiative of forging a list of names at the heart of the Clearstream trial.


A key defendant in the Clearstream affair trial, Imad Lahoud, will take the stand in the Paris criminal court this Tuesday after he was granted a one-day leave to attend the Jewish religious holiday of Yom Kippur.


Lahoud, a computer expert and former employee of aerospace giant EADS, accused his former boss Jean-Louis Gergorin of ordering him to add President Nicolas Sarkozy’s name to a list of people allegedly holding secret bank accounts at Luxembourg-based clearing house, Clearstream.


In last week’s hearing, the two defendants traded accusations about the list’s falsification. Lahoud said he was only acting on behalf of his former employer, while Jean-Louis Gergorin claimed he was misled by the computer expert.


Although the list appears to have transited on Lahoud’s computer, it remains unclear whether he forged it on his own initiative or at the request of Gergorin.


After examining the origins of the list, the criminal court is set to hear the “libellous accusation” case.


Dubbed France’s “trial of the decade”, the Clearstream affair has been cast as a showdown between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Dominique de Villepin, a former prime minister, who stands accused of plotting to discredit Sarkozy in the build-up to the 2007 presidential election.


On Monday, de Villepin fired the latest volley in an increasingly acrimonious dispute by filing a lawsuit against the French president for allegedly violating his right to the presumption of innocence.

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