Former French Prime minister Dominique de Villepin is to be questioned further by judges in the Clearstream political smear scandal. Villepin insists he has done nothing criminal, and although being questioned under French law often means enough evidence exists for a trial to be held, it is not automatic. If charged, Villepin can still ignore the judges and demand his case is heard by the Court of Republican Justice, the only body allowed to try former elected officials, and which rarely sits.
Police searches of Villepin’s house and office seized documents, and the searches were prompted after discoveries on the computer of former secret service boss General Phillipe Rondot. These allegedly include poorly-deleted minutes of meetings implicating Villepin and his boss, former President Jacques Chirac.
Clearstream is a Luxembourg-based bank. It is alleged Chirac and Villepin conspired to destroy their rival Nicolas Sarkozy’s chances of becoming president. This in connection with a bogus list of illegal accounts at the Clearstream bank.
The list has proved to be totally false.