Mitterrand's son may face trial in arms-to-Angola affair

28th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 28, 2007 (AFP) - French prosecutors on Wednesday requested that Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, the son of the late president, former minister Charles Pasqua and 40 other defendants stand trial in the arms-to-Angola case, judicial sources said.

PARIS, March 28, 2007 (AFP) - French prosecutors on Wednesday requested that Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, the son of the late president, former minister Charles Pasqua and 40 other defendants stand trial in the arms-to-Angola case, judicial sources said.

In a 500-page summary of a case that dates back to 2000, the Paris prosecutor's office said all 42 defendants were suspected of taking bribes from businessman Pierre Falcone, who organised arms deliveries from eastern Europe to Angola.

Judge Philippe Courroye of the Paris criminal court must now decide whether to order a trial, which could take place in 2008.

Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, who was an adviser on African affairs at the Elysee presidential palace from 1986 to 1992, under Francois Mitterrand's Socialist presidency, faces a possible charge of influence-peddling and a second minor offence.

But prosecutors decided against pressing ahead with a charge of accessory to arms trafficking for which the former president's son was detained for three weeks in December 2000 and January 2001.

Mitterrand's lawyer said Wednesday he would ask that his client be cleared on all counts.

"He has always maintained his innocence concerning the arms trafficking.  The other two offences are subsidiary and have not been proven," said lawyer Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi.

Dubbed "Angolagate" by the press, the case involves arms sales to Angola of at least 500 million dollars negotiated by Falcone in 1993 and 1994 and through a go-between until 2000, notably tanks, helicopters, munitions and six war vessels.

The arms deliveries were to help President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos in his war against UNITA rebels.

Angola's 27-year war ended in 2002 after claiming half a million lives.

Other than Falcone, who has been targeted by an international arrest warrant since 2004, businessman Arcady Gaydamak is also wanted for trial by prosecutors.

Other possible defendants include Pasqua, the former interior minister, bestselling author Paul-Loup Sulitzer, former prefect Jean-Charles Marchiani and former judge Georges Fenech.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article