A large corruption scandal involving President Nicolas Sarkozy has been gathering pace in France. According to Liberation newspaper, which refers to the investigative materials, Mr. Sarkozy, when serving as the Budget Minister, was involved in establishing a mechanism to pay so-called "kickbacks" when selling submarines to Pakistan during the 1990s, RBC TV reports.
The French newspaper obtained a transcript of the interrogation of a former official from the Ministry of Defense. The official said that in 1994, Sarkozy, while still in the position of the Budget Minister in the government of Edouard Balladur, allowed the establishment of two agency firms, reports Vesti.Ru. Their accounts in Luxembourg were used to receive the so-called kickbacks from the contracts to sell submarines to Pakistan.
In 1994-1995, one of the agency firms, Heine, received 185 million francs that were supposed to be wired to DCNI (an international department of DCN), BFM.ru reports. According to the former CFO of the International Division of the Directorate of Shipbuilding, Gerard Philippe Menayas, Heine was one of the "quiet havens" that were used to accumulate the funds received in the form of "commissions" from governmental defense contracts.
Menayas had been working at the Ministry of Finance for six years. He claims that he knows how such affairs can be handled. "I can not imagine that such a decision (to register the firm) was made without the knowledge of the office of the minister," the former top manager said at the interrogation.
The judicial investigation also suspects that a part of those "commissions" was used to finance the election campaign of former Prime Minister Edouard Balladur. Nicolas Sarkozy was the press secretary of his election headquarters.