Karachi affair: final proof of secret kickbacks to fund French politicians


The prosecution authorities in Paris have recommended that six people, including three former senior political aides, face trial over the Karachi affair. The ex-aides, who at the time of the alleged offences were working for prime minister Édouard Balladur, defence minister François Léotard and budget minister Nicolas Sarkozy, are accused of setting up a massive system to siphon “commissions” from major arms deals back to France for political funding, or of receiving those illegal kickbacks. Mediapart has now obtained a copy of the prosecutors' legal reasoning, which details this complex web of networks and bank accounts and which, confirm the prosecutors, was aimed at the “secret funding of French politicians”. As Fabrice Arfi reports, the question still remains as to whether the advisors' political masters will one day face trial over the affair.

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A large, complex and costly system was put in place to siphon “commissions” from major French arms deals to use for illegal political funding in France. That is the clear conclusion of a report by the prosecution authorities in Paris into the so-called Karachi affair (1) that dates back to the mid-1990s in France. Prosecutors Chantal de Leiris and Nicolas Baïetto confirm that the system's aim was the “secret funding of French politicians”. The report, a copy of which has been obtained by Mediapart, recommends that six men should stand trial over the affair. These include key aides to three top French politicians in the 1990s, prime minister Édouard Balladur, defence minister François Léotard and Nicolas Sarkozy, who was budget minister at the time.