Wednesday, December 14, 2011

French ex-minister arrested over arms deals

[ via The Local ] 13 Dec

Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, 57, a former French minister was detained Tuesday for questioning over alleged kickbacks on arms deals said to have funded the presidential campaign of a key ally of President Nicolas Sarkozy, reports The Local, France's News in English.

Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, culture minister between 2004 and 2007, was serving as a senior advisor to then defence minister Francois Leotard in 1994 when a suspect contract to sell French submarines to Pakistan was signed.

The contract has since become the focus of a graft probe, amid allegations that kickbacks from the deal were used to fund Edouard Balladur's failed 1995 presidential campaign, for which Sarkozy acted as spokesman.

Three more people have already been charged with graft in the investigation: alleged middleman Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine and two former close political aides to Sarkozy.

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