The story appears on

Page A9

September 22, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Sarkozy under fire as slander trial starts

FORMER French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin lashed out at President Nicolas Sarkozy yesterday at the start of a trial involving alleged dirty tricks by top politicians and businessmen.

"I am here because of the determination of one man. Nicolas Sarkozy," Villepin said before taking his place on the defendants' bench. He suggested Sarkozy was using the trial in France's so-called "Clearstream affair" as a political weapon.

Sarkozy claims Villepin was behind a smear campaign aimed at thwarting Sarkozy's bid for the 2007 presidential election. Sarkozy is one of some 40 plaintiffs in the trial, which will also delve into old international arms deals, offshore bank accounts and the French aviation and defense industries.

Villepin is accused of complicity in slander and complicity in forgery.

"I will emerge free and clear," Villepin said before the trial began. "I know that truth will triumph. My battle is not a personal battle. It is a battle of all those who are victims of the abuse of power."

The affair dates back to 2004, when both Sarkozy and Villepin were conservative hopefuls to succeed then-President Jacques Chirac.

The case began with a list claiming to show clients who held secret accounts with Luxembourg clearing house Clearstream, including Sarkozy.

Villepin was given the list, and he asked a retired general to investigate it. It turned out to be a hoax, but was by then already circulating in political and legal circles.

About 20 witnesses are expected to testify in the trial, scheduled to run through October 21.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend