Mitterrand son 'cheated business partner' claim

4th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

NOUAKCHOTT, May 3 (AFP) - A Mauritanian court will rule next month in a case involving controversial business dealings by the son of France's late president Francois Mitterrand, Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, a lawyer for the prosecution said Monday.

NOUAKCHOTT, May 3 (AFP) - A Mauritanian court will rule next month in a case involving controversial business dealings by the son of France's late president Francois Mitterrand, Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, a lawyer for the prosecution said Monday.

Mitterrand, who is already under investigation for alleged corruption, money-laundering and illegal arms sales to Africa, particularly Angola, is accused of having cut former business partner Olivier Collonge out of profits in Iwik, a Mauritanian-based fisheries firm they owned jointly.

Collonge is seeking several hundred thousand euros for his share in Iwik, company profits and for unpaid salary while working as managing director from 1999 to 2003, his lawyer Brahim ould Ebety said.

Iwik is also the subject of a money-laundering inquiry opened by the Paris prosecutor's office in March of this year.

The company's assets were frozen last Thursday by the Nouakchott court of arbitration hearing the case to "keep it from being dilapidated ahead of a court ruling", said ould Ebety.

The ruling will be made "at the start of June", he said.

Mitterrand, who acted as his father's advisor on Africa, has also been under investigation since December 2000 for complicity in illegal arms trading, particularly to Angola.

French prosecutors in January 2003 opened a further criminal probe of Mitterrand in relation to the arms-to-Africa scandal, charging him with influence-peddling, abuse of public funds and arms trafficking.

During 1993 and 1994, at the height of the Angolan civil war, five hundred million euros (597 million dollars) worth of jets, helicopters and other weaponry found its way into the hands of the Angolan government of President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, in breach of international sanctions.

The 2003 probe is based on ties between Mitterrand and Pierre Falcone, a Franco-Brazilian businessman suspected of playing a pivotal role in selling arms to Angola.

In the Iwik investigation, prosecutor Philippe Courroye is seeking to determine how Mitterand succeeded in running the fish factory and provide it with funds, when they were supposed to have been blocked pending the outcome of the Angolan arms deal investigation.

Mitterrand said in March that Iwik's operations were transparent and reaffirmed that he was not guilty of arms trafficking.

© AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article