Karachi affair: French ex-PM Édouard Balladur acquitted

Edouard Balladur
Mr Balladur, 91, had faced charges of using commissions from the deal to fund a failed presidential bid in 1995.

France’s former PM Édouard Balladur has been acquitted in a corruption trial over a submarine deal with Pakistan in the mid-1990s.

Mr Balladur, 91, had faced charges of using commissions from the deal to fund a failed presidential bid in 1995.

Former defence minister François Léotard was given a two-year suspended sentence and fined €100,000 ($120,000) for complicity in misusing assets.

Six men were jailed over the case last year.

Investigations into the so-called Karachi affair began after 11 French engineers were killed in a bombing in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi in 2002.

Pakistani authorities blamed Islamist militants, but there were suspicions that the attack was an act of revenge after then-French President Jacques Chirac ordered the payments of secret arms deal commissions to stop.

Both Mr Balladur and former minister Léotard, who were charged in 2017, had denied any wrongdoing.

Last June, three former French government officials and three others were sentenced to between two and five years in jail over their involvement in the Karachi affair.

They included Mr Balladur’s former campaign manager, a former adviser to Léotard and a former aide to France’s ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then the minister in charge of sales and commissions.

Sarkozy, who was sentenced to prison in a separate corruption case earlier this week, has also faced legal scrutiny over the Karachi affair. He has denied any connection to the deal.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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