Karachi bomb blast: the astonishing revelations of a French defence minister

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Judge V.R.: "You indicated to the authors of the book that traces had been found in banks in Spain, Switzerland, Malta and Luxembourg. Do you confirm this?"

CHARLES MILLON: "Yes, from memory, according to the reports that were given to me by the DGSE agents."

Judge V.R.: "Did the agents tell you about their suspicions over retro-commissions?"

CHARLES MILLON: "No. The [mission] request covered the movement of funds."

Judge V.R.: Why were these commissions halted?

CHARLES MILLON: "When there was a doubt, we stopped. For the Pakistani contract, going on the secret service reports and the analyses carried out by the ministerial services, we had an intimate conviction that there were retro-commissions. That was the case of the Agosta and Sawari II contracts."

Judge V.R.: "Why these two contracts?"

CHARLES MILLON: "Because we came to positive conclusions, we acquired an intimate conviction."

Judge V.R.: "What elements led you to have an intimate conviction about these two contracts in particular?"

CHARLES MILLON: "I don't know. I based myself on the reports that were given to me verbally by the DGSE."

Judge V.R.: "You also told the authors of the book, page 214, about the following scene during the handing over of powers with Monsieur Léotard: "I was persuaded that Léotard was going to talk to me about reserved affairs or the terrorist threat. Well, no, he said to me, quite feverishly, that I absolutely must go to Saudi Arabia to complete a contract that he had begun under Balladur. I couldn't believe it." Do you confirm this?"


Judge V.R.: "You added: 'When I later went to Saudi Arabia, one of the kingdom's dignitaries, exasperatedly said to me: 'do you realise, your friends are far too greedy with the commission deals. They give me 8% and keep the remaining 10% for themselves. That's nonsense. May they never come back here, or else I'll cut their tongues off '. Do you confirm this?"

CHARLES MILLON: "Yes. It is a dignitary who said this to me. I do not wish to give his name."

Ziad Takieddine. © DR Ziad Takieddine. © DR

Judge V.R.: "Was he pointing at Monsieur Takieddine?"

CHARLES MILLON: "He wasn't pointing at anybody. It was a preliminary statement. I was negotiating other contracts for France."

Judge V.R.: "Did you have relations with Monsieur Takieddine?"

CHARLES MILLON: "On one occasion. Either at the end of 1995, either the beginning of 1996, he wanted to continue to be an intermediary in Saudi Arabia. Takieddine was not alone but I do not remember by whom he was accompanied. I told him no, in fact I myself never had used any intermediary during negotiations of contracts drawn up at the time I was minister."

Judge V.R.: "Did you have any dealings with El Assir?"

CHARLES MILLON: "I wonder if he wasn't with Takieddine, I don't remember."

Judge V.R.: "Did you have any dealings with Ben Mussalam?"

CHARLES MILLON: "I wonder if he might have been in the same delegation as Takieddine."

Judge V.R.: "At the end of the investigations, what did you do?"

CHARLES MILLON: "Certain commission contracts were ended. Marwan Lahoud and perhaps also the principle private secretary, Monsieur Chaussendre, gave instructions to that end, either to Monsieur Castellan of the DCN, either to M. Mazens, or to the companies involved."

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Mediapart's extensive and revealing investigations into the Karachi affair are contained in a book by Fabrice Arfi and Fabrice Lhomme: 'Le Contrat - Karachi, l'affaire que Sarkozy voudrait oublier', currently available in French only, published in May, 2010 by Stock.