The French Watergate
On June 16, the former President of France will no longer have his Presidential immunity. He is subject to a number of corruption investigations dating back through 12 years of his Presidency, all the way back to his days as Mayor of Paris, and he is certain to be asked about a secret £30 million account in Japan. Recently seized files at the home of a senior spy confirm the existence of the account.
The Scotsman has the story:
The alleged evidence was discovered by judges Jean-Marie d’Huy and Henri Pons after they seized 112 bound files and numerous other documents from the home of Gen Rondot in connection with their inquiry into an alleged smear campaign. Dubbed “The French Watergate”, it centred on whether Dominique de Villepin, the then prime minister, had asked Gen Rondot to dig up dirt on Mr Sarkozy, then interior minister, who had been wrongly accused of receiving kickbacks from the £1.4 billion sale of French frigates to Taiwan in 1991.
Claims of Mr Chirac’s secret nest egg first came to the attention of the French authorities in 1996 when his friend Shoichi Osada, a Japanese banker, decided to invest £500 million in France, so triggering a routine investigation by the DGSE, which is said to have stumbled upon the then president’s Japanese account.
Thrown into a panic, Mr Chirac is said to have summoned Gen Rondot in 2001 and ordered him to destroy all DGSE evidence of the account. Unfortunately for the president, the spy simply removed the notes and memos about the affair to his home, where they were seized in March last year by Mr d’Huy and Mr Pons. Since then, the judges have been discreetly pursuing an investigation, interviewing 20 intelligence officers about the affair.
Mr Chirac is reported to have struck a deal with Mr Sarkozy, whereby the latter will push through judicial reforms ensuring the ex-president escapes prosecution. However, the magistrates are expected to move before the reforms are passed this summer.
Originally posted at Nuke's news & views