French political intrigue behind escape of Dominican Republic 'cocaine' pilots

Revelations about the dramatic escape by two French pilots from the Dominican Republic made headlines in France this week. The two men, convicted of cocaine trafficking, fled the Caribbean country thanks to a well-organised plan while they were on house arrest pending an appeal. But the affair took on a political flavour, too, as anger rose in the Dominican Republic about the pilots' escape and amid claims that some French government agencies were involved. In particular a Euro MP and close ally of Marine Le Pen has belatedly admitted that he was directly involved in the extraction operation. Michel Deléan, Louise Fessard and Marine Turchi report.

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It was a dramatic and bold operation that inevitably grabbed the headlines in France. Two former French military pilots staged an incredible escape from the Dominican Republic where they had been convicted on cocaine-smuggling offences. Pascal Fauret, 55, and Bruno Odos, 56, who were under house arrest pending an appeal against their conviction and a 20-year jail sentence handed down in August 2015, were spirited away from the Caribbean country in a speedboat in a commando-style operation with the apparent help of former military colleagues.