The corruption trial involving an alleged attempt to smear French President Nicolas Sarkozy has heard sensational evidence which damages his political rival. Retired intelligence General Philippe Rondot told the court in Paris of meetings in 2004 when the Clearstream affair was discussed. His testimony that he knew Dominique de Villepin was involved directly contradicted the former foreign minister’s evidence. De Villepin is accused, with others, of links to a forged list showing Sarkozy took kickbacks for arms deals when the two men were vying to succeed Jacques Chirac as president.
“None of that matters. General Rondot is someone who believed certain things, and believed they came directly from de Villepin,” said de Villepin’s lawyer Olivier Metzner. The list implied that Sarkozy and others had hidden bribes in a Luxembourg bank. De Villepin insists he did not know the list was forged, did not know Sarkozy’s name was on it, and was not involved in leaking it to a judge. But Rondot said de Villepin did know the list was false, and said he appeared disappointed when he was told.