The former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin has arrived at court in Paris, to answer questions about the Clearstream bank scandal. He is accused of lying about secret investigations which could have embarrassed President Nicolas Sarkozy, when he was de Villepin’s bitter rival to succeed Jacques Chirac. He said he had sent the judges a lengthy dossier explaining his view of the case, and was confident they will do the right thing, and that the truth will come out.
The Clearstream affair centres on claims that President Nicolas Sarkozy, when French Interior Minister, had a secret bank account in Luxembourg, which included kickbacks from defence deals. The claims were subsequently found to be false. De Villepin denies intending to smear his opponent. He claims, however, that President Sarkozy is pulling strings in the case against him.