Swiss to reveal bank secretsof Taiwan frigate commission

14th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

GENEVA, May 14 (AFP) - Switzerland is to transfer to the French judicial authorities documents relating to the controversial sale of French warships to Taiwan, after a court Friday rejected an appeal by Taiwanese businessman Andrew Wang who is suspected of organising massive rake-offs.

GENEVA, May 14 (AFP) - Switzerland is to transfer to the French judicial authorities documents relating to the controversial sale of French warships to Taiwan, after a court Friday rejected an appeal by Taiwanese businessman Andrew Wang who is suspected of organising massive rake-offs.

Responding to a request by two French judges who are looking into the corruption allegations, the Federal Tribunal - Switzerland's highest court - decided there was sufficient evidence to implicate Wang in the affair and overruled his bid to keep the bank documents under wraps.

A French judicial investigation was opened in 2001 into claims that a large part of the USD 2.8 billion (EUR 2.37 billion) paid by Taiwan for the six frigates in 1991 went on commissions to middlemen, politicians and military officers in Taiwan, China and France.

The investigation has run into serious difficulties because of a decision by successive French governments to withhold documents on grounds of official secrecy.

However on Thursday a committee of defence ministry officials ruled that papers drawn up by a French intelligence agent charged with following the frigates deal can be released to the judges.

Thierry Imbot died in suspicious circumstances in 2000 having told his father - a former intelligence chief - that large amounts of money had been spent on commissions.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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