Commissions were 'totally excessive and unjustified'
Porchier was responsible for two internal enquiries into the September 1994 sale to Pakistan of the three Agosta 90B submarines, which he described as amounting to an industrial and financial waste for France. Porchier led separate enquiries in 1997 and 1999.
The parliamentary mission invited him to comment on the commissions paid during the deal. These are cash payments, amounting to bribes, destined to local officials and intermediaries who helped France secure the contract, and which were commonly referred within the arms industry as ‘Exceptional Commercial Costs', known in French as FCEs.
He replied that they were "totally excessive and unjustified". These commissions totalled 84.7 million euros (the value of the amount paid, at that time, in French francs), representing just more than 10 per cent of the overall sum of the contract, worth 826 million euros.
The investigation by Judge Trévidic into the engineers' murders has now been joined by another, parallel judicial investigation opened this autumn by Judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke into the suspicion that kickbacks from the deal found their way back to France for the purposes of illegal party funding.
Van Ruymbeke's investigation is not part of Trévidic's, but the two have become complimentary with regard to the central suspicion held by Trévidic that the kickbacks were ultimately the reason for the attack against the engineers.
Both magistrates have established that two businessmen were imposed in the deal by Balladur's government during the summer of 1994, when the negotiations for the sale had already been completed. The businessmen, both of Lebanese origin, are Ziad Takieddine and Abdul Rahman El-Assir.