France’s Prime Minister is being questioned at a Paris tribunal about the Clearstream affair. Dominique de Villepin was authorised by his cabinet earlier this month to go before a judge investigating the smear scandal. As he is only appearing as witness he cannot face charges. Villepin said he was pleased to be questioned as he had personally suffered from Clearstream scandal.
Judges want to determine who was behind false allegations that Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy kept accounts at the Luxembourg bank Clearstream to hold kickbacks from the sale of French frigates. Key to the scandal are accusations that Villepin ordered an investigation into those corruption charges against Sarkozy that he knew were fake. Villepin denies he was targetting Sarkozy who will be running for the presidency. Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie who may also run for the presidency, was questioned in the case for 12-hours earlier this month.