Judicial probe widens to French secret services' role in 'Kazakhgate' deal

By and Alain Lallemand (Le Soir), Thierry Denoël (Le Vif) et Mark Eeckhaut (De Standaard)

The financial crime branch of France’s public prosecution services has widened the remit of a judicial investigation into suspected corruption in a sale of French helicopters to Kazakhstan to include the suspected involvement of France’s intelligence services in a plan to protect a businessman close to the Kazakh president from prosecution in Belgium. The move follows revelations by Mediapart and Belgian daily Le Soir of evidence suggesting the intelligence services were manipulated by officials of the French presidency under Nicolas Sarkozy in order to seal the deal worth a total of 2 billion euros. Yann Philippin reports in collaboration with Mediapart's Belgian press partners in this investigation, Alain Lallemand (Le Soir), Thierry Denoël (Le Vif) and Mark Eeckhaut (De Standaard).

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Mediapart has learnt that the French prosecution services have widened an investigation into suspected corruption, notably bribery of foreign officials and a system of secret kickback payments made in France, in connection with a 2-billion-euro contract for the sale of French helicopters and trains to Kazakhstan under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, to include probing the possible involvement of the French intelligence services in helping to secure the deal.