Villepin sues Clearstream authors for libel

20th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 21, 2006 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has sued for libel the author of a third book on the so-called Clearstream dirty tricks affair, his office said Wednesday.

PARIS, June 21, 2006 (AFP) - French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has sued for libel the author of a third book on the so-called Clearstream dirty tricks affair, his office said Wednesday.

Two days after taking rare legal action against the authors of two books on the case, Villepin has also sued the journalist Airy Routier, author of 'The Paranoid Plot', and his publisher Albin Michel.

Routier, editor of the Nouvel Observateur weekly, told AFP: "This case will come to nothing.... It leaves me cold, since there are facts in this book that are beyond debate".

Villepin was drawn into the scandal over charges he ordered a secret prpbe into his rival, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, one of several personalities falsely accused of running secret offshore bank accounts in the case.

His earlier legal action targeted Denis Robert, author of 'Clearstream, The Investigation', Jean-Marie Pontaut and Gilles Gaetner of L'Express magazine, who wrote 'Settling of Accounts for the Elysée', as well as both publishers.

Villepin — who has lurched from crisis to crisis since the start of the year — this week faced renewed calls for his resignation, even from within his own camp, after a verbal outburst aimed at the opposition leader in parliament.

The Clearstream affair exposed a fratricidal battle within the French government, with Villepin accused of seeking to destabilise his rival Sarkozy ahead of next year's presidential race.

The libel suit could require Villepin — who denies the accusations — for the first time to state his version of the affair before a judge.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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