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Ex-French PM to face criminal charges

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Ex-French PM to face criminal charges


Former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is to stand trial over his alleged role in a smear campaign against President Nicolas Sarkozy.

After a four year inquiry, Villepin faces criminal charges over his involvement in the Clearstream inquiry.

The scandal erupted in May 2004 when a French judge received an anonymous list of prominent individuals, including Sarkozy, said to have taken bribes in exchange for illegal arms sales.

The fake documents contained account details at Luxembourg bank Clearstream.

While the charges proved baseless, the scandal turned political in 2004 when Sarkozy accused Villepin – then his main rival for the presidential candidacy of the centre-right – of concealing an intelligence report by Jean Louis Gergorin, clearing him of any wrong doing.

Villepin denied Sarkozy’s claims, but in a further twist the ex-Prime Minister was accused of using Presidential powers to instruct a General Rondot to investigate Sarkozy.

Villepin denies all the charges against him.

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