More than two decades after the sinking of the Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior, the affair has resurfaced in the French presidential election campaign. It was in July 1985 that French secret agents bombed the vessel in New Zealand, in a bid to sabotage the environmental group’s campaign against French nuclear tests in the Pacific. A photographer on board was killed. Now it is being claimed that a brother of Segolene Royal, the front-runner in opinion polls in the race to be the Socialists’ candidate for president next year, was one of the secret agents involved.
“I am a bit surprised by this controversy the day after I declared my candidacy,” she told reporters.
“I don’t know if it is a coincidence. I think if journalists want any information, they should ask the Ministry of Defence.”
In a bizarre twist, it is another of her brothers -Antoine Royale – who has made the claims about their brother Gerard.
“He told me it was he who planted the bomb,” he said in a newspaper.
Two French agents were convicted and sentenced in New Zealand to 10 years in jail. But by 1988 both had been released.