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France

Sarkozy embroiled in bribery enquiry

media Nicolas Sarkozy and Edouard Balladur at the Assemblée Nationale in Paris … AFP

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was facing questions on Monday about his role in Edouard Balladur's 1995 presidential campaign after French newspaper Liberation linked Balladur's campaign to a deal selling submarines to Pakistan in return for funding. The collapse of the bribe has been linked to a bomb that killed 11 French naval engineers in 2002.

Sarkozy was spokesman for Balladur at the time the alleged kickbacks were taking place.

When Jacques Chirac beat Balladur in the election he cancelled the commissions on the submarines. A French judge investigating the 2002 bomb in Karachi says it may have been carried out in revenge for the cancellation of the 5.41 billion franc contract one year before.

Since February the national division of financial investigations has been investigating claims of financial irregularity in Balladur's campaign.

Now Libération has got hold of documents that show that two intermediaries received at least 54 million francs in June 1995.

A bank account opened to finance Balladur's campaign received a transfer of 10 million francs that was put in with no serious justification, according to Libération.

The lawyer for the families of the victims of the bomb said he would be demanding answers from Balladur and his allies.

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