A little bit more than a week is left before the second stage of presidential elections in France. The controversy is getting more and more intense. Almost all observers are sure that Jacques Chirac will win, but his competitor Jean-Marie Le Pen is far from being motionless. It seems that he is seriously determined about taking the office of the president after May 5.
The Kommersant newspaper wrote that the leader of the ultra-right forces of France possessed discreditable material of incredible impact against Chirac, and it was said that Le Pen was ready to expose that information. Le Pen said that French people would learn several very interesting details about the biography of the incumbent president of France. The nationalist leader claimed that he had the documents at his disposal, which allegedly testified to the fact that the French president was accepting bribes from the incumbent Premier of Lebanon, Rafiq Hariri, who is a very wealthy man. Le Pen’s documents are based on the stories, told by the leader of the Guardians of the Cedar group, which is the organization of South Lebanon.
As it is well-known, the French government was supporting the Lebanese Christians, but this support has come to nothing recently. The leader of this group has the information pertaining to the contacts between Chirac and Hariri. It was said that the president and the premier had some weird friendship, because Hariri did not speak French, and Chirac did not speak Arabic. Hariri is not a well-educated person, but he is very religious Muslim man, his parents come from Saudi Arabia, and he is the richest man of Lebanon. So this explains everything.
As the leader of the Guardians of the Cedar said, when Hariri was coming to Paris, Chirac usually met him right near his car. Hariri was invited for all holidays and receptions in Paris, and when he could not come, his wife was there – the guest of honor.
It was also said that Chirac visited Lebanon every month just to see his dear friend. Only a few people knew about those trips. The people from Chirac’s milieu were usually told that the president left for Lebanon to conduct the talks pertaining to the issues of the Mideast policy. But it was strange that Chirac was taking his big case along every time he was going to Lebanon “for Mideast talks,” although he usually took a thin file for such occasions.
The leader of the guardians of the Cedar is sure that Chirac was taking bribes from Hariri: up to 200-300 thousand dollars a month. It was also said that there is a law in the USA, pursuant to which senior officials could act as advisors of companies, including foreign ones.
The information, which was received from the leader of the South Lebanese group, are not documented in any way, but he hopes that his information will become the ground for a trial. However, it is not likely that Le Pen will win the elections even with the help of that discreditable material. The scale of the anti-Le Pen demonstrations says that the French people are really concerned about the fact that an ultra-right politician might become the head of the state. But on the other hand, there are a lot of those, who are tired of never-ending scandals around the incumbent French president. Such people may vote against Chirac, so Le Pen does have chances to win. We will see this on May 5 anyway.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/04/26/40385.html