News you may have missed #0141

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French “trial of the century” continues with ex-spy’s testimony

Philippe Rondot

Philippe Rondot

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A complex court case in France, which the nation’s media have dubbed “trial of the century”, continued this week with the testimony of one of France’s most distinguished intelligence agents. Retired General Philippe Rondot, who worked for France’s domestic (DST) and foreign intelligence (DGSE), and advised several French leaders, gained international fame in 1994, when he managed to arrest Venezuelan-born operative Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal. General Rondot was called earlier this week to testify whether France’s former Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, helped forge 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. Mr. de Villepin will face up to five years in prison if found guilty of the forgery. Read more of this post

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. Read more of this post

France’s former spy chief refuses to testify in Angolagate trial

Yves Bertrand

Yves Bertrand

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
France’s former spy chief has refused to testify as a defense witness in the infamous Angolagate trial, which probes illegal arms shipments from France to Angola in the early 1990s. The arms scandal, which was uncovered in 1995 by the French authorities, involved unauthorized shipments of over $600 million-worth of weapons to the MPLA-dominated government in post-civil-war Angola. Forty-two people are implicated in the case, some of whom are facing charges of money laundering, tax evasion, as well as bribery of French government officials responsible for overseeing commercial shipments to Angola. The 42 include Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, son of the late French President Francois Mitterrand, former Interior Minister Charles Pasqua, and two businessmen, Pierre Falcone, from France, and Israeli-Russian tycoon Arkady Gaydamak. Interestingly, Falcone and Gaydamak stated during the trial that they planned the illegal weapons shipments to Angola with the secret approval of the French government, which was hoping to gain access to Angolan oil in return for the weapons handout. Read more of this post