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French ex-premier testifies over Karachi bombing

French ex-premier testifies over Karachi bombing
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From Pakistan to Paris, political intrigue over a deadly bombing in 2002 has intensified with testimony from a former French prime minister.

The attack in Karachi killed 11 French engineers.

Some believe their deaths were revenge after France cancelled kickbacks from arms deals.

But Dominique de Villepin said he does not see any link between the blast and the then President Chirac’s decision to halt commission payments.

The victims’ lawyer, however, says de Villepin also told an investigative judge he believed part of the cash was used for illegal party funding in France.

It is claimed it helped finance the 1995 presidential campaign of Chirac’s rival Edouard Balladur. He and his then spokesman, a certain Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s current leader, reject any such suggestion.

De Villepin was a senior aide to Jacques Chirac who honoured those killed in an attack originally blamed on al Qaeda. Former President Chirac is now being sued for manslaughter by victims’ families.