Villepin jumps in to denounce smear campaign

27th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 27, 2006 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin hit back Thursday at rumours that he could be drawn into a judicial investigation over bogus charges of corruption levelled against senior politicians.

PARIS, April 27, 2006 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin hit back Thursday at rumours that he could be drawn into a judicial investigation over bogus charges of corruption levelled against senior politicians.

Two French judges are hunting for the identity of a mysterious informer who falsely accused a string of top politicians and businessmen — including Villepin's rival Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy — of running secret bank accounts abroad.

On Thursday Le Parisien newspaper reported that the judges could seek to interview Villepin, who was interior minister when the false leaks were made, as well as senior figures from the domestic intelligence service (DST).

In a statement Villepin condemned "the rumours and imputations directed at the state, its institutions and the intelligence services."

He expressed the hope that "light will be shed on this whole affair of libellous denunciations. ... It is a question of doing what is right for certain people who have been unjustly named and feel a legitimate grievance."

He insisted that "any information brought to my knowledge as minister of the interior was handed over at the time and at my request to the judicial authorities."

The case goes back to 2004, when a set of documents and CD-ROMs were sent anonymously to judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke, naming Sarkozy and a string of others as holders of secret accounts at the Luxembourg-based bank Clearstream.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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