Computer expert held in Clearstream probe

7th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 7, 2006 (AFP) - A former computer expert at the European defence company EADS was held for questioning Wednesday by police investigating faked accusations of money-laundering at the heart of the French government.

PARIS, June 7, 2006 (AFP) - A former computer expert at the European defence company EADS was held for questioning Wednesday by police investigating faked accusations of money-laundering at the heart of the French government.

Imad Lahoud, 38, is suspected of concocting lists of account-holders at the Clearstream bank of Luxembourg which were passed in 2004 to a magistrate investigating illegal commissions paid in French arms-sales.

Among the names linked to Clearstream was Interior Minister and presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy, who believes he was the victim of a smear campaign ahead of next year's elections.

Lahoud was being interviewed at the headquarters of the financial police, who have 48 hours before they must present him before a judge.

Last week Jean-Louis Gergorin, a former vice-president at EADS, was placed under investigation -- one step short of full charges -- for "making false accusations" and "forgery" in connection with the case.

Gergorin is believed to have obtained the Clearstream lists from Lahoud, and then tried to interest Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin -- who was then foreign minister -- before leaking them to the judge.

It remains unclear at what point Sarkozy's name appeared on the lists.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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