Spy chief’s records feature prominently in France’s “trial of the century”

Yves Bertrand

Yves Bertrand

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A five-year court case described in France as “the trial of the century” or “France’s Watergate” resumed on Monday with the appearance in court of one of five defendants, who is no other than France’s former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. He is accused of forging a series of documents showing that France’s current President, Nicolas Sarkozy, had laundered millions of dollars in defense contract bribes through secret accounts in Luxembourg’s Clearstream bank. At the center of the trial is the adversary relationship between Mr. de Villepin, who was former French President Jacques Chirac’s preferred successor, and Nicolas Sarkozy. Mr. Sarkozy accuses Mr. de Villepin of ordering an intelligence investigation into his financial dealings in order to ruin his reputation and score a political victory. The trial’s “holy grail” consists of an unknown number of mysterious “spiral-bound notebooks”, in which Yves Bertrand, director from 1992 to 2004 of France’s Central Directorate of General Intelligence (RD), is said to have catalogued Mr. de Villepin’s activities, along with other suspicious activities involving France’s corrupt political elite. The notebooks, which have reportedly been confiscated by the judges in charge of the trial, may determine its outcome. Mr. de Villepin is expected to face up to five years in prison, if found guilty.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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