Families sue France's Chirac in Pakistan arms scandal
Families of French engineers killed in a 2002 bomb attack in Pakistan 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 told AFP.
Investigators suspect the bombing in Karachi in 2002, which killed 11 French engineers and at least three Pakistanis, was revenge for the cancelling by Chirac of commissions for officials in the sale of submarines to Pakistan.
"Our complaint is going to target how the decision was arrived at to stop the commissions," Morice told AFP, saying the suit was prompted by recent testimony from arms executives in the case.
Villepin later Friday confirmed he "stongly suspected" that kickbacks were being paid in the deal for the submarines, and said he wanted to give testimony before a magistrate investigating the affair if possible as soon as next week.
In an interview on TF1 television, he said Chirac, when he became president in 1995, wanted "to clean up international public life, that is, to block all contracts that had or could have given way to corruption."
Morice on Thursday also called for France's current President Nicolas Sarkozy to be questioned by the magistrate investigating the affair, a complex case linked to allegations of illegal political funding.
Investigators have also heard from witnesses who allege Sarkozy was linked to the commissions. He has dismissed the case as a "fairytale".
© 2010 AFP