Agosta deal: Pakistani, French presidents can be in hot water
A former French president has hinted towards Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and his French counterpart Nocolas Sarkozy without name them in his statement on the issue of financial benefits from the sale of Agosta submarines to Pakistan, saying they should be questioned and that former French president Jacqous Chiraq had no role in the deal.
Former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has said that those who got financial benefits from the sale of submarine to Pakistan should be questioned and that former French president Jacqous Chiraq has no role in (Agosta deal).The former French premier hinted towards President Asif Ali Zardari and his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy without naming them in his statement because both had signed the $900 million submarine deal. After the disclosure of former French defence minister Charles Millen and the hint of Dominique de Villepin, dangers for President Zardari and his French counterpart have increased.Zardari was an environment minister and Sarkozy was budget minister when they signed the Agosta deal in 1994. Charles Millen said commission taken in the $900 million deal was not illegal, but spending of commission on election campaign and hindering the payment of commission in accordance with the deal were illegal.Agencies adds: France’s presidential palace said on Friday there was no proof to implicate President Nicolas Sarkozy in an investigation into the circumstances behind a 2002 bomb attack in Karachi that killed 11 French people.Families of the victims have said Sarkozy should be summoned for questioning in the probe, which aims to clarify whether the attack was a reprisal against France for a decision to stop paying commissions on Agosta submarine sales to Pakistan.Investigating magistrates also aim to determine whether any of the alleged sale commissions were used to make illegal contributions to the presidential campaign of then Prime Minister Edouard Balladur, a centre-right politician.Sarkozy was budget minister under Balladur in 1993-95, years straddling the signing of the Agosta contract in September 1994.The Elysee palace rejected suggestions that Sarkozy may have been aware of the commissions as “malicious rumours”. “It is unacceptable for this drama to be used as a circumstantial argument to feed the cause of those who have no other concern than to implicate the head of state with a series of insinuations, in an affair which concerns him in no way,” the presidential palace said in a statement.The Elysee palace also brushed off accusations that the government may have hindered the investigation by invoking official secrecy acts and said there was no proof to implicate Sarkozy in any part of the probe. Under French immunity rules, a president can refuse to be questioned while in office, but the demand linking him with the affair is uncomfortable for Sarkozy who is grappling with some of the worst popularity ratings of any recent French leader.The families will lodge a manslaughter suit against former president Jacques Chirac, their lawyer said Friday. Their civil suit for manslaughter and endangering life also targets former prime minister Dominique de Villepin and former executives involved in arms deals linked to the case, the families’ lawyer Olivier Morice said.“Our complaint is going to target how the decision was arrived at to stop the commissions,” Morice said, adding that the suit was prompted by recent testimony from arms executives in the case.